The reality for IDPs in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province continues to be a daily struggle for hundreds of thousands. Information released on June 4th by the United Nations Refugee Agency indicates that approximately 150,000 families are displaced, mainly throughout Peshawar and neighboring communities.[i] Although the arrival of new IDPs has been steadily declining, the rate of individuals returning home is also quite low. The majority of IDP families must carry on indefinitely even as their already inadequate living standards deteriorate on a daily basis.The upcoming monsoon season poses several new threats in an already extremely vulnerable situation.
As most of the world is aware, Pakistan suffered an excruciatingly, heavy rain season in 2010, affecting the lives of millions. From June to September, this particular season is often referred to as the Southwest Monsoon. The increase in rainfall during this particular time of year presents a serious problem for IDPs living throughout the region. When you take into account 150,000 families, many of which include three generations, the actual influx of people living in host communities and camps is extraordinary
With increased rainfall, comes an increase in mosquitoes, often carriers of extremely harmful infections, diseases, and viruses. The risk of infection exists throughout the entire year, but the monsoon season provides the disease ridden pests with unlimited breeding grounds. Two major concerns are but not limited to:dengue fever and malaria. These mosquitoes will breed uncontrollably wherever water falls in the coming months; rooftops, containers, buckets, cups, tires, garbage, sewers, latrines, and any other crevice holding still water. The dengue mosquito prefers freshwater for laying eggs while the malaria mosquito lays everywhere including dirty and diluted water.
Since hundreds of thousands of IDPs are living in host communities where supplies and access to basic necessities are already limited, water has become an invaluable commodity. Water wells are in constant use and a limited supply of gas, electricity, and firewood means that boiling is a luxury. Possible flooding also raises the chances of cholera infections. Due to the proximity of so many people living together, the chances for an epidemic is always a concern.This requires careful and quality monitoring by NGOs and health care providers.
The temperature is on the rise across the country and IDPs are experiencing it the severest because they are displaced from areas where the climate is moderate during summer.They are unaccustomed to the temperatures currently around 43 degrees Celsius. For the 11% of IDP families living in camps, the heat is unbearable. While the tents serve as shelter during the night, the intense heat during the day is extreme. Even for those living in other accommodations (such as rented rooms, group homes, with family and/or makeshift houses), the heat is harsh, especially with overcrowding. Fans/electric water coolers are a scarce commodity.Women and children, particularity female children, often reside indoors all day. The decision to cook, when resources permit, which is mainly performed by women, is usually also done indoors, further adding to the matter.
The predicament of IDPs in Pakistan is unfathomable for a lot of people, but they need to be remembered and their circumstances continually emphasized. They need enduring support from the global humanitarian community.
CWS-P/A continues coordination with other organizations working in the area, including coordination and cluster meetings.
In early June, CWS-P/A completed the distribution of 151 metric tons of food that benefited 1,090 families (9,156 individuals) living in host communities in Peshawar. This was possible with support from DanChurchAid (DCA). Food packages included wheat flour, rice, sugar, tea, pulses, cooking oil, salt, and match boxes.
CWS-P/A is currently distributing an additional 288 metric tons of food to 2,000 families living in host communities. This is the first out of three rounds of food distribution to these 16,800 individuals. This assistance which will be distributed over three consecutive months is possible with support from Canadian Foodgrains Bank (CFGB) through Presbyterian World Service & Development (PWS&D). Wheat flour, pulses, cooking oil, salt, and match boxes comprise each food package.
All food packages distributed by CWS-P/A are according to Sphere standards, meeting the minimum of 2,100 kilocalories per person/day, fat, and protein intake needs. Each package is designed to last the average size family for one month.
CWS-P/A is also preparing to start health services through mobile health units, a mobile laboratory, and hydraulic mobile health unit for 24,000 individuals living in host communities, with particular emphasis on women and children. This is part of the ACT preliminary appeal and services will commence in the first week of July.
- Fans/Electric water coolers
- Health services and medicines, particularly mobile services for IDPs in host communities and vaccination campaigns to prevent the spread of diseases
- Non-food items to assist families to relocated without household and other basic belongings, including hygiene items
- Nutrition initiatives to locate and treat undernourished children and pregnant and lactating women
- In-depth and coordinated efforts to locate vulnerable, unregistered families
Access to cash and income earning opportunities
[i]KP and FATA IDP Statistics (As of 04 June, 2012), UNHCR