Pakistan

Pakistan: EC releases assistance for IDPs in NWFP

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ISLAMABAD, Nov 23: The European Commission (EC) has released financial assistance of Euros 1.5 million for rehabilitation of the internally-displaced persons in the NWFP.

The amount has been provided to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to support its ongoing economic security and health activities in different areas of the province, an European Commission spokesman said here on Sunday.

He said the principal objective of the initiative was to ensure protection, relief and assistance for the people of Pakistan affected by the consequences of the conflict along the Pak-Afghan border.

The ICRC is working closely with the Pakistan Red Crescent Society as a neutral and independent humanitarian aid organisation for providing relief to thousands of affected families in the conflict zone.

Under the agreement, food and essential household items will be distributed to the affected populations, thus facilitating them in restoring their livelihoods. Assistance would also be provided to selected hospitals, he said.

IDP camps have been operating in two districts of the NWFP since the start of floods in August and were expanded when the military operations drove many people away from their homes towards the end of the same month.

Almost three months later, the relief interventions for the affected and displaced communities now relocated to IDP camps in Nowshera, Charsadda, Peshawar, Mardan and Lower Dir. Health interventions targeted internally displaced populations both in camps as well as in host communities.

At this stage the information captured through the cluster partners focuses on the camps, however, this will expand since UNHCR has started the registration of IDPs living with those communities.

The IDP camps are to remain operational for at least another nine to 12 months, while the winter contingency planning that is based on further influx of IDPs is near completion, with the Fata directorate staff and doctors and NWFP Relief Commissioners Office also coordinating for the necessary preparations.

Whereas, the IDPs in the camps as well as those living with relatives and friends need to be covered for food, shelter and health response and active surveillance to detect, prevent and control any outbreaks of communicable disease and to monitor the health situation and needs as well as the provision of health care services have been pursued by the health partners led by health authorities and WHO as the co-chairs of the health cluster.

World Health Organisation (WHO) and partners are preparing the winter contingency plans for the IDPs in Mardan, Charsadda, Peshawar and Nowshera districts.

The plan targets arrangements for safe drinking water, construction of more latrines, tubewells, water supply lines and arrangement of hot water in order to avoid the spread of seasonal diseases. The plan must also be complimented with capacity-building of the local health staff and proactive surveillance mechanism. Water storage provision needs to be addressed at the Charsadda IDP camp.

Moreover, health and hygiene education must be strengthened in the camps. It is now essential that epidemiological and nutritional surveillance and preparedness activities are carried out comprehensively along with essential medicines management during emergencies, guidance in health education, reproductive health, water and sanitation and communicable disease control for achieving the targeted objectives during the coming winter.

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