Gilani seeks aid for displaced people from global donors


Regular Member
May 20, 2009
Islamabad (PTI): Vowing to root out militancy from Pakistan, Premier Yousuf Raza Gilani today sought urgent aid from international donors for nearly two million people, who have been displaced as a "grave repercussion" of military operations against the Taliban in the country's northwest.

The actions against the militants in North West Frontier Province and nearby tribal areas have "started producing positive results" but there are "grave repercussions in terms of massive dislocation of the local population," Mr. Gilani said addressing an international donors' conference here.

"Pakistan looks forward to a positive and visible response from the international community...and reiterates its resolve to root out militancy from its territories notwithstanding the tremendous cost in terms of loss of human lives, damage to physical infrastructure, social and economic dislocation and untold suffering of the IDPs (internally displaced persons)."

Pakistani authorities have said nearly two million people have been displaced by the anti-militancy operations. Military claims it has killed over 1,000 militants in the drive that began last month. Dozens of troops have also lost their lives.

Mr. Gilani said rehabilitating the IDPs is essential to ensure that "the militants do not exploit the vulnerability of the displaced population."

"Consequently, there is an urgent need for a joint and comprehensive response to this issue by all those who are committed to fighting terrorism," he said.

Hundreds of displaced people have been pouring into relief camps set up by the government and NGOs in Mardan and nearby areas. Many of the displaced have also sought shelter in cities like Rawalpindi, Islamabad and Karachi.

Authorities are currently grappling with the issue of providing the IDPs adequate amenities in the overcrowded relief camps. The sweltering summer heat has added to the problems of the displaced people as many of the camps are without electricity.

Mr. Gilani said before the launch of military operations in Swat, the crisis of IDPs was "manageable".

A "Prime Minister's special fund for relief of victims of terrorism" has been established and the federal government has allocated over Rs 2 billion for rehabilitating the displaced.
The Hindu News Update Service
"However, the quantum of the current influx needs massive resource allocation," he added.

He said Pakistan's strategy for the IDPs comprises "relief, return and rehabilitation and reconstruction."

The UN, due to its vast experience in emergency response, is leading the relief phase, in consultation with the NWFP government. The UN Humanitarian Coordinator has initiated the process of triggering a "UN Flash Appeal."

For rehabilitation and reconstruction, the World Bank will undertake a post-conflict needs assessment study.

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