Pakistan War Against Taliban Causes Grief For Population
Clashes between the Pakistan government and the Taliban have forced nearly three million people from their homes in north-west Pakistan. Recenty, 800,000 refugees have been able to return to their homes, but over a million people are still living with host communities, and 160,000 people are residing in refugee camps, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
Pakistan is currently undergoing its worst refugee crisis since 1947, when India and Pakistan were divided. The number of refugees has exploded since April, when the government launched an offensive against the Taliban.
But as far as the refugee crisis goes, the provincial and federal governments’ response has been haphazard, or non-existent. Refugees said in interviews last week that they saw no evidence of government assistance.
The main source of aid is being delivered to Pakistan through the United Nations as well as aid agencies, but many of the displaced do not know how to register for the aid services. The UN estimates that one third of the refugees are living with relatives, while the remaining two thirds are staying with friends or even strangers.
“It would have been a disaster if these people didn’t take them into their homes,” said Azam Khanis, who is coordinating the provincial government’s aid effort.
For its part, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has found that the conflict has impeded food production, with nearly two-thirds of the vegetable crop having been ruined.