Cold Shoulder for IDPs of Swat Crisis? Issues and Suggestions

Since Pakistan Army has launched Operation Rahe Rast against militants in North Western areas of Pakistan, about 2 million people had to flee from the affected areas like Swat, Dir, Buner. The huge influx of people termed as worst humanitarian crisis by UN.

The IDPs are now living in camps established by UNHCR and Government of Pakistan. They can not get the feeling of home while living in tents for unlimited period of time until the operation ends, which no body knows when. For the relief activities and commodity provisions Government of Pakistan and NWFP had requested several times and there has been reports of million of dollars aid. People of Pakistan had mixed opinions about the military Operation at first but slowly the operation gets favor from all. Probably that’s the reason that initially there was a cold shoulder for Aid by public. It wasn’t a natural disaster like earth quake few years back. The passion for help and commitment towards rehabilitation of quake victims is far more than for IDPs.

Now with the news that aid has arrived and throughout Pakistan people had donated for the IDPs , it is Government’s responsibility to ensure fast track registration of IDPs and an accountable process of distribution of aid amongst them. For registration process the educated locals could work with UNHCR as language is a problem for volunteers from other regions. The provision of better tents and wash room facility should be ensured specially for women as they observe purdah and they had to live inside the tent for most of the time, in summer season which became an oven from inside.

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When I see pictures of IDPs and children in a long never ending queue waiting for food I realize how it would feel if you are dependent on others. The people of North West Frontier region have been famous for their hospitality and generosity. They never demand or beg in front of any one even if they had nothing to eat, but will provide everything for their guest. Their self respect didn’t allow them so even now.

At least government should provide them food in a better way. They can appeal for volunteer workers or some youngsters amongst the IDPs who can be trained to do such kind of regular work for others. Don’t let them look like beggars to the western media. Sort some proper way to deal with the situation. The frontier people are not used to spiced edibles. This should be considered also as the media reports are highlighting such complaints by female IDPs that their children are unable to eat the provided meal as it is very spicy.

Those IDPs who are literate can be made temporary teachers for the IDP children, So that their time will be utilized in a better way. The women IDPs can also be engaged in healthy activities if there is a proper system for food and other commodities provision.

Don’t give them a feeling that they are a burden. Treat them humbly as they are facing most difficult times or their lives. The donation process should not stop even after their return because a huge economical loss had also with them as they couldn’t harvest their wheat crops. Their possessions are destroyed. Real rehabilitation efforts will be needed in the near future.

I urge all of you to help the IDPs in this time of crisis so that when they return back to their homes they remember all of us with some good words. I also request Mr. President and Prime minister to come out of their air conditioned cars and offices to know how harsh this summer is for Swat dwellers and pay a visit to them, identify their problems and prove that they have been elected by the people of Pakistan. It is their responsibility other wise sooner or later they are going to be accountable for it.

Image Source: Dawn.com

Also check the extensive resource page to support Internally Displaced Persons from Swat Crisis


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