Update on IDP operations in north-west Pakistan

This is a summary of what was said by UNHCR spokesperson Andrej Mahecic to whom quoted text may be attributed at the press briefing, on 6 November 2009, at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.

UNHCR is stepping up assistance to people displaced by military operations in South Waziristan, Pakistan, and will shortly distribute tents to families staying with host communities in Dera Ismail Khan and Tank districts of the North West Frontier Province (NWFP). We will distribute some 35,000 tents (worth US$6 million) pending the final number of confirmed registered families. The aid will allow the displaced people to pitch tents in the grounds of households which are hosting them, and alleviate overcrowding. Tents are on their way from our local stockpiles to Dera Ismail Khan, and distribution will begin in the coming days.

Since September, UNHCR has been distributing relief items such as kitchen sets, jerry cans, quilts, sleeping mats to displaced people from South Waziristan. Some 24,000 families (about 175,000 people) have been assisted so far. Security constraints have lead to some intermittent disruptions to aid efforts, but distribution is continuing through our local partners.

UNHCR is also supporting the registration of displaced people from South Waziristan which is being carried out by the provincial Social Welfare Department, with help from our local NGO partner. Some 350,000 people, comprising almost 48,000 families, have now been registered in Dera Ismail Khan and Tank, though only about 175,000 people (or 24,000 families) have yet been verified by the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA). The verification process is ongoing but, at this stage, early indications suggest about 17% of families could be ineligible due to multiple registrations. A further 10% are not verified due to problems with their national ID cards, and another 2% are deemed not from areas affected by the military operations.

However, it is important that people who are not verified because they don't have their ID cards or are deemed not from an affected area have the opportunity to seek redress, so that genuinely displaced people don't fall through the cracks. Grievance desks are being set up at the registration centres to address this issue.

Elsewhere in Pakistan, an estimated one million people from previous waves of displacement out of Bajaur, Mohmand, Swat, remain displaced and in need of ongoing humanitarian assistance. This includes some 88,000 people in 10 camps in NWFP, for whom UNHCR is currently preparing a package of extra relief supplies for winter. Also, existing tents will be replaced with all-weather tents to provide extra insulation. Jalozai camp, in Nowshera, hosts the largest number of people (61,000) including some 27,000 people from Bajaur and Bara (Khyber agency) who have been registered in the camp since last month. The group includes a mix of people who recently fled renewed fighting in Bajaur and Bara, alongside those who had fled earlier and stayed with host families. This latter group had recently sought refuge in the camp as their resources became depleted.