Plight of IDPs of Khyber Agency
SECURITY operations in the Khyber Agency against the militants have led to the displacement of 68,274 families. It is a humanitarian crisis in Khyber Paktunkhwa. Among the displaced people, 50 per cent are children.
Health and educational services are vital along with nutritional support, access to safe drinking water and sanitation for the displaced people.
Access to basic amenities continues to be a biggest challenge for the displaced families residing in camps. Over 90 per cent are staying off camp with host communities. Movement from the conflict zone to safe areas is vital for children who are facing threats of being captured or killed by armed groups.
It is also vital that psychological measures are taken to assist children to cope with the impact of the conflict and displacement.
A proactive approach should be taken to address physical and mental issues and to alleviate children’s sufferings.
Off the camp, IDPs are residing in rented homes or with host families in Nowshera and Peshawar. Mostly women and children with conservative culture are uncomfortable to live in camps and they are also unable to access relief services.
There is an immediate need to increase relief efforts with provision of water, sanitation and hygiene, maternal and child health, nutrition, education protection since a large number of IDPs are residing off camps.
Education for displaced children is foremost. Social mobilisation activities must be enhanced to identify out-of-school children and ensure their timely enrolment at schools. Psychosocial support is important for the well-being of distressed children. Child-friendly learning spaces for off-camp IDPs can provide a unique opportunity for learning while playing different games to lessen disabilities.
Children can conceptualise their potentials while learning and playing and get rid of stress and trauma of displacement.
Unicef and Save the Children are major humanitarian agencies working for children. But reports indicate the limited funding for emergency humanitarian needs of the IDPs in host communities.
Keeping in view the prevailing security issues in Fata, the repatriation is not predictable in the near future. Even IDPs living with host communities say that they don’t expect to go home within the next 12 months. The funding gap will reduce the ability
of humanitarian agencies to deliver lifesaving aid to the affected population, especially for the critical needs of IDPs’ children living in host communities for education, health and protection.
The current state of services for IDPs shows limited arrangements due to funding scarcity. It is imperative to assist humanitarian agencies working for off-camp IDPs.
The media must highlight the plight of victims of displacement to draw the attention of the authorities and donor agencies.