As the government’s operations in Khyber Agency continue against non-state armed groups, the number of families being displaced to Peshawar, Kohat, and Nowshera continue to rise. The recent influx has brought the total population displaced since January 2012 to 687,557 according to UNHCR, with approximately 10% living in Jalozai Camp, Peshawar.
The majority of families reside off-camp with relatives or in rented houses. Inaccessibility to meet basic needs of food, health, and education is compounded by poor living conditions. In a recent assessment by CWS-P/A, 60% of interviewed households have more than 20 family members in one house while the remaining had 10-15 individuals per house. Families opt to reside in these conditions mainly because cultural reasons related to female privacy and security prevent them from living in the camp. Inadequate shelter and poor hygiene practices increase health risks, which at present mainly include diarrhea and malaria.
Aside from shelter, one of the major concerns is access to food. However, other needs expressed by the community are access to education, non-food items like kitchen utensils, and health services. In a recent press release by the Pakistan Humanitarian Forum (PHF) of which CWS-P/A is a member, nearly 80% of the displaced families have little or no access to healthcare and medicines. Children aged five and under constitute 28% of the displaced population. Poor access to food, nutrition, and health place this youngest group of the displaced population at high risk of health and other concerns. Other vulnerable groups include pregnant women and the elderly or infirm, particularly those from the poorest families.
Agriculture, livestock rearing, and daily wage labor are the main livelihood sources in Khyber Agency. However, in their state of displacement, the majority of families can only access income through labor that is inconsistent and low-paid. With government estimates that the operations could last approximately six months, it is imperative that displaced families receive assistance in order to secure access to food, nutrition, healthcare, and shelter so that a worsening humanitarian crisis can be prevented.
CWS-P/A recently completed a needs assessment and plans response in the districts of Peshawar and Nowshera. Currently, the procurement of 1,000 food packages that will benefit 8,400 individuals is underway. These food packages that are made available with support from DanChurchAid will provide the families with sufficient food and calorie, fat, and protein intake for one month as per Sphere standards. The distribution of these food packages will take place as soon as possible.
CWS-P/A will soon launch an ACT appeal through which it aims to provide 2,000 families in Peshawar and Nowshera with food, no-food items, and health services.
CWS-P/A is also coordinating with UN clusters and other organizations working in the area for information sharing and to ensure non-duplication of humanitarian efforts.