DERA MURAD JAMALI, NASEERABAD DISTRICT, PAKISTAN: The flooding in Balochistan as elsewhere in Pakistan is likely to change the demography in a big way since a large chunk of internally displaced persons (IDPs) won’t return to their homes in rural areas.
“The demography will be changed,” said Amanullah, assistant director, social welfare, government of Balochistan. “The intelligentsia should come forward and think how the frustration of IDPs can be contained,” he said. He suggested that there should be a permanent solution at Tehsil level about disaster management. “We are throwing food at them and hurting their self-respect,” he said.
Large numbers of IDPs have found refuge in Balochistan’s provincial capital Quetta, Naseerabad district and other places. Since flood water is standing on their land and will take months to retreat and large numbers of schools have been washed away, a substantial number of IDPs are unlikely to return to their rural abode.
The situation will create many serious problems. Firstly, IDPs have occupied land in urban centers that belong to somebody else and it would create tension; secondly, urban areas have better schooling facilities and in the absence of schools in rural areas, a fairly large number of IDPs will prefer to stay in urban centers.
Amanullah said about 20 million people have been affected by flooding across Pakistan and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) should not confine their work to relief operations and think in a large perspective.
He denied that the civil and military bureaucracy was hindering relief operations undertaken by national and international NGOs. In the beginning, he said, the bureaucracy insisted that NGOs should seek permission from her before undertaking a relief operation. It also insisted that relief goods should be distributed in areas that are near the main roads, he said. However, when we told them that the NGOs, especially international NGOs have to comply with certain formalities and have to make assessments before undertaking a relief operation, the bureaucracy softened.
But a circular dated Sept 19, 2010 and issued by the additional commissioner, Naseerabad is self-explanatory.
“It has been observed with great concern that few NGOs are working at their own free will within the area without consulting civil administration/army which is creating overlapping/duplication of resources. An information cell has been established in the office of the commissioner, Naseerabad Division to assess the daily needs of IDPs in Naseerabad Division. The representative of civil administration and army are available.”
The circular further said that a coordination meeting under the chairmanship of additional commissioner, Naseerabad is being conducted on daily basis at 5 p.m. to avoid overlapping/duplication of resources and also to discuss security issues of NGOs and their staff/supplies. The representatives of NGOs who are not participating in coordination meeting are hereby warned that the civil administration/ army will not be responsible for the security of their personnel/supplies if a mishap happens.
The civil administration/ army will not be responsible if some mishap happens? Obviously, it’s a veiled threat. But despite that international NGOs are taking the risk and doing pretty good job.
Amanullah appreciated the job done by the Church World Service-Pakistan/Afghanistan and SPO and said their representatives should attend the meetings being held at commissioner’s office.