ISLAMABAD, 17 January (IRIN) - Water
supplies to refugees at a settlement in Pakistan's tribal areas resumed
on Thursday, after negotiations and a different route was identified for
tankers to use, following a blockade by local residents.
"We have found a new transport route for the tankers and the water supply is normal so the refugees will not be affected," commissioner for Afghan refugees in the North West Frontier Province (NWFP), Mushtaq Ahmad Alizai, told IRIN from the provincial capital, Peshawar.
The route to the Shalman camp, established after the US-led air strikes in Afghanistan, in Pakistan's Khyber Agency, some 40 km north from Peshawar, was changed two days ago following a contractual dispute between an international NGO and local people.
Supplies to some 10,000 Afghan refugees living at the camp were disrupted on 12 January for four days, according to the office for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
"We visited the area on Tuesday along with the Commission for Afghan Refugees and negotiated with the elders to allow the water to be transported on a different route," UNHCR's senior programme officer, Ahmed Warsame, told IRIN from Peshawar. He added that these type of problems were common in the tribal agency where local leaders often take matters into their own hands.
The water, supplied by the Danish NGO, DAACAR is rationed among the refugees who receive approximately 20 litres per person, per day. However, the blockage meant that supplies were down by 50 percent, with only three tankers out of seven allowed to pass through. "Fortunately it is winter and not summer, otherwise the situation would have been much worse in the hot weather," he said.
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