PHF and NHN Joint PRESS RELEASE
Islamabad, 8 April, 2013
Humanitarian crisis threatens in KPK for displaced families from Tirah valley, FATA, Pakistan
Many thousands of families from the Tirah Valley in Khyber Agency have been forced to leave their homes following heavy fighting between rival militant groups. The displacement has resulted in significant unmet humanitarian needs.
The Federally Administered Tribal Area (FATA) Disaster Management Authority has recorded that 5,479 families have fled the fighting in the Tirah Valley to date while first person accounts from the conflict area indicate a large area of the valley is now deserted and approximately 10,000 to 15,000 families have left their homes and are on the move due to the insecurity. Displaced families are moving towards Kohat, Hangu and Peshawar districts of Kyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK). Up to 75% are women and children, and it is expected that most will prefer to live with relatives and host communities rather than in displacement camps. The nature of the conflict between two militant groups has led to rapid displacement and widespread destruction.
Rehman*, fleeing with his family from the Tirah Valley said: “We fled without carrying any basic necessities such as food and clothes. We saw many dead bodies in the area, even we were not able to bury the bodies of our relatives who were killed in the conflict. At this time we have no support and we are living with relatives and have no food, clothes, valuables or health facilities”
His situation was mirrored by Qazi*, who fled with his family: “We have left our houses, livestock, crops and belongings in Tirah to protect our families. It was a very difficult situation at night. I saw pregnant women dying on the way while we were fleeing. Many of the children sustained physical injuries and fell sick because of the hardships they faced while travelling across the mountains on foot”.
This suffering of families escaping from the Tirah Valley is compounded by the severe violence and destruction they witnessed as they fled and the ongoing security threats they still face in the areas of displacement. There is an urgent need for humanitarian assistance in terms of food, water, sanitation, shelter, health care as well as access to education and psychosocial support. Due to the ongoing conflict in the region it is unlikely that these families will be able to return to the Tirah Valley in the near future and therefore they will also need livelihood support. Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and humanitarian partners are currently responding to needs with relief items and planning to increase assistance in the coming days and weeks as funds are secured.
The Pakistan Humanitarian Forum (PHF) and the National Humanitarian Network (NHN) call for the immediate delivery of aid based on vulnerability and calls upon the Government of Pakistan and humanitarian actors to address the needs of this highly vulnerable population.
Fayaz Ahmad, chair of the PHF, said: “We should not forget the needs and suffering of innocent civilians from the tribal areas who have been caught up in the fighting and have witnessed the destruction of their homes and property and the death of their family members. Given the situation and needs of these people, immediate assistance is needed at the locations where the affected population has moved to.”
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Notes for Editors
The Pakistan Humanitarian Forum was formed to coordinate and strengthen the efforts of International NGOs working in humanitarian and development assistance. The forum collectively represents INGOs to the Government of Pakistan, United Nations, and the larger humanitarian and civil community, including the National Humanitarian Network of Pakistani NGOs and community-based organisations. There are 53 member organisations of the PHF and 10 organisations with PHF observer status. http://pakhumanitarianforum.org
The National Humanitarian Network (NHN) is an alliance of 159 Pakistani NGOs working to provide emergency relief and promote disaster resilience.