Humanitarian Coordinator observes return to normalcy for people of Kurram

(Islamabad, 16 April 2016): The United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Pakistan Mr. Neil Buhne concluded his two-day visit to Kurram Agency, Federally Administered Tribal Areas on Saturday, 16 April, 2016, accompanied by the acting Head of the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) Pakistan, Dr. Alexandra de Sousa.

On the first day, the mission visited the New Durrani IDP camp in Central Kurram to meet people who have been displaced for more than six years and will begin returning to their areas of origin within a week. The mission also observed the facilities being provided by the humanitarian community in the camp and appreciated the joint efforts of the Government and humanitarian partners in supporting the displaced people over the past few years. During a Jirga, the Humanitarian Coordinator (HC) and the acting Head of OCHA reiterated the commitment of the international community to support Government efforts to facilitate the displaced population during their imminent return.

The mission observed a stable security situation in the agency, in both areas of return and recently de-notified villages. In the villages of the Musazai tribe, the mission observed that 90 per cent of the IDPs (Internally Displaced Persons) had already returned to their dwellings, and that markets in the area were functional. However, shelter in the villages of Khatori tang, Beezadi, Chanay Dara and Zayan had been severely damaged during displacement, preventing families of the Ali Sherazi tribe from returning.

Addressing the displaced persons, Mr. Buhne said, “It is a sign of your bravery and strength that you have survived these past hard years, and that you are now ready and willing to return to your areas [of origin]. As you return and rebuild, it will be even more important to be resilient, committed and to work well together to build a self-sustaining and better life for yourself, your wives, your daughters and sons. The international community is committed to helping you to return, recover and develop.” He reiterated the humanitarian community’s firm support to the returning IDPs to help them meet their basic needs, specifically immediate needs regarding shelter, food, education, and health.

The mission, together with the Political Administration, visited recently de-notified areas of Central Kurram to gain a better understanding of the immediate humanitarian needs of returnees. They then also met with families who returned two years ago to Central Kurram to gather knowledge about their early recovery experience and long-term development needs.

Mr. Buhne met the Political Agent of Kurram, Mr. Ikram Ullah, and received a briefing on the official return plan for Kurram. The HC appreciated the efforts of the civil administration and the assistance provided to them from the military as normalcy and order in restored to the area. He also expressed gratitude for the Government of Pakistan’s efforts to support both the displaced population and the families which are returning.

For further information, please call: OCHA Islamabad: Zinnia Bukhari, email: bukhariz@un.org, mobile: +92 332 8438989, OCHA press releases are available at www.unocha.org

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