Pakistan: Difficult return for the homeless
The fighting among Pakistani Army and Taliban militants continues. Schools are damaged and parents are hesitant to send their children to schools. They also fear the land mines upon their return and express serious concerns over safety and mobility. There are other problems, too. Infrastructure damage and the tight security situation in Swat mean many roads have been destroyed while road-blocks shut off others. This has also affected ease of movement and the availability of transport for many. Some schools also remain closed as they continue to shelter the returning homeless.
"Mom will not allow us to walk to school."
Saadia Haq, a 13 year old boy says, "My father's shop was destroyed in the shelling; now, I feel sad as we are going home. How will my three siblings and I be able to go to school? Where will we get our school books and uniforms? Now I am scared that we will not go to our school on foot as we used to do before the war started; Mom is not going to allow us to go on foot and public transport is ten rupees one way."
According to UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the overall situation in Pakistan is termed as still unstable and volatile. Improvised explosive devices followed by attacks on military, police, and civilians are the main security concerns. The government faces a dual dilemma; on one hand the fighting with militants continues in Swat and other tribal regions and on the other, the issue of returnees is also not proving to be an easy task.
During the early hours of August 16, a high level flood brought about massive destruction in Swabi. A total of 1,300 families are suffering; the infrastructures for hundred of families are severely damaged. The main bridge in Kalu Khan was also destroyed by the flood. Moreover, crops and livestock have also been lost, leading to a valuable loss of income and food.
Food and Mosquito Nets
CWS has distributed food packages to 4400 families. In the coming two months, additional food packages will be distributed to the displaced people in Swabi and Mardan in both host communities and camps for the homeless. The ACT member will also hand out kitchen sets, plastic mats, and mosquito nets. Norwegian Church Aid is providing medical services. 560 displaced men and women have recently been treated for diarrhea, scabies, chest infection, fever, flu, stomach ulcers, general weakness, and reproductive health problems.