Pakistan: UN humanitarian arm reports number of displaced returning home tops 600,000

31 July 2009
A young girl gets ready to board one of the buses in Jalozai camp that will taker her back home to the Swat Valley in Pakistan

More than 600,000 people forced from their homes by armed clashes between Government forces and militants in north-western Pakistan have now returned, leaving some 1.6 million displaced people in need of aid, the United Nations announced today.

The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said that even as people were beginning to leave the makeshift shelters for internally displaced persons (IDPs), and an influx of around 1,500 families arrived at camps in Jalozai and Familo in July.

To assist people who are returning to their homes in the North West Frontier Province (NWFP), the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has distributed some 8,600 hygiene kits and 270,000 Aqua tabs, which can benefit approximately 60,000 returning IDPs.

The vast majority of the nearly 2.3 million people who had escaped the violence are sheltering either in schools and other public buildings, with host families or in rental accommodations.

The upsurge in returning IDPs in recent weeks has meant that 1,167 schools have been vacated, out of the 4,739 schools housing IDPs in NWFP, leaving authorities and the humanitarian community with the enormous task of getting all pupils back to school for the start of the academic year.

OCHA said that the schools being used as shelters must be repaired and equipped with new furniture, as well as teaching and learning materials.

 

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