United Nations press release
UNHCR assisting thousands displaced by security operation in Pakistan
News Stories, 30 March 2012
Families who have fled their homes in Pakistan's Federally Administered
Tribal Areas register with UNHCR at the Jalozai camp near Peshawar.
PESHAWAR, Pakistan, March 30 (UNHCR) - UNHCR, together with other UN
agencies, is assisting thousands of people who have fled fighting in
parts of Pakistan's Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), which
An estimated 101,160 people, mainly women and children, have been
displaced since government troops began security operations on January
20 against militant groups in the Khyber Agency region.
A recent increase in the intensity of the fighting has seen a rise in
the number of families who are leaving the area. Starting on March 17,
a new wave of internally displaced people has been approaching the
Jalozai camp, where UNHCR is registering them and providing them with
basic humanitarian supplies.
A partner UN agency, the World Food Programme, is providing food aid.
Jalozai is located near the western city of Peshawar in Kyhber
Pakhtunkhwa province, formally known the North-West Frontier Province.
On Wednesday, UNHCR registered 1,721 families or 7,054 individuals. As
with earlier arrivals, the vast majority opted to live outside the camp
with host families. Just 515 of the more than 7,000 people registered
chose to live in the Jalozai camp. All of those registered were
provided with a package of relief supplies such as blankets, soap and
sleeping mats, a UNICEF hygiene kit and an initial one-month food
UNHCR Representative in Pakistan Neil Wright visited Jalozai on Friday
and met with those who had recently arrived. Among them was Mir Afzal,
who had come to Peshawar with his family a day earlier. Afzal said
military officials had recently made an announcement at his village
mosque that residents should temporarily evacuate the area. "Within our
communities," he said, "every one knows what the situation is and where
we should go for help."
Since this latest movement of displaced families began earlier this
month, UNHCR has registered a total of 45,786 people from the Khyber
Agency. Some 15,684 people have moved into the Jalozai camp with the
rest - 30,102 individuals - living with friends and relatives. The
number of people living in Jalozai now stands at 62,818 people of which
47,134 were living in the camp before March 17.
After visiting newly established settlements in the camp Friday, Wright
said he was impressed by the initial response. "In less than two weeks,
thousands of tents have been erected, food distributed and truckloads
of humanitarian aid has been distributed," he said. "Government, UN and
non-governmental agencies are work together to help those who have had
to leave their homes and possessions behind."
New arrivals continue to say that they left their homes because of the
proximity of fighting and due to instructions by the authorities to
evacuate the area. Systems are in place to identify vulnerable families
and individuals and to identify special needs. Families headed by a
lone female, for instance, are prioritized in the process of
registration, tent allocation and the provision of humanitarian
On average UNHCR field staff have been registering nearly 2,000
families each day since the March 17 surge in arrivals.
By Tim Irwin in Peshawar, Pakistan