Latest military offensive in Pakistan could uproot 170,000 people – UN

19 October 2009
A sea of tents in a camp for the internally displaced in northern Pakistan

United Nations agencies and their partners are providing assistance in north-west Pakistan, where the Government estimates that over 100,000 people have already been displaced by the latest military offensive against militants and the number could rise even further.

According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the military operations in the tribal areas of South Waziristan have intensified since Saturday and resulted in considerable new displacements of civilians.

The Pakistani authorities report that there are now a total of 106,800 internally displaced persons (IDPs) registered in the districts of Dera Ismail Khan and Tank in North West Frontier Province (NWFP).

“The humanitarian community estimates that over 170,000 people may be displaced as a result of the new military operations, which could bring the total number of IDPs to up to 250,000,” said OCHA.

The IDPs are currently accommodated with host families and no camps have been set up in the two north-western districts.

The UN and its partners, working through local non-governmental organisations (NGOs), are currently providing humanitarian assistance to the area of displacement by distributing food and non-food items. They are also prepared to distribute food to a possible second wave of IDPs.

Earlier this year, more than 2 million Pakistanis were displaced by the conflict between Government forces and militants in NWFP. Around 1.6 million of them have now returned to their homes.


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