Number of people displaced by fighting in north Pakistan tops 180,000

News Stories, 13 April 2012

© UNHCR/T.Irwin
Displaced men wait to be registered at Jalozai camp. They fled fighting in the north-west between government forces and militants.

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, April 13 (UNHCR) The number of people displaced by a government security operation under way in the Khyber Agency in north-west Pakistan has passed 180,000. "Significant numbers of new arrivals are approaching UNHCR at the Jalozai camp for the internally displaced, which is located near the city of Peshawar in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province," Adrian Edwards, a spokesman for the refugee agency, tolds journalists in Geneva on Friday.

UNHCR's response is part of an inter-agency effort supporting the government's Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA). Inside Jalozai, 72 registration desks have been established to keep pace with the flow of new arrivals. The operation is registering about 10,000 people a day.

The vast majority of those registered 85 per cent choose not to live in the Jalozai camp, opting instead to stay with friends, relatives or in rented accommodation. Around 11,000 families, or more than 50,000 people, have moved into Jalozai.

The PDMA will soon be opening two additional registration points, which will also work as hubs for distributing humanitarian relief.

UNHCR has distributed more than 37,000 humanitarian relief kits, which include items such as sleeping mats and jerry cans, while sister UN agencies are providing assistance in the areas of mother and child heath, child protection, water and sanitation, primary education, distribution of food rations and vaccinations.

More than 4,000 additional tents have been erected in the area of Jalozai that is being used to house the new arrivals. Adequate space remains at the camp to accommodate additional families.

"Systems are also in place to identify and assist those people with particular protection concerns," said Edwards. "A grievance and legal desk has been established at the Jalozai registration point to facilitate vulnerable groups who may need additional assistance due to lost registration forms, old national identity cards, or missing identity cards," he added.

A total of more than 650,000 people are displaced in Pakistan's Khyber Pakkhtunkhwa province and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas as a result of security operations against militant groups.