Saturday 16 May 2009

Casualties of war against Taliban: time to help the Internally Displaced Persons in Pakistan - refugees in their own homeland

Major military operation being carried out against Taliban insurgents in Swat region of Pakistan has resulted in mass Internally Displaced Persons from Swat Valley Pakistan. Source: Reutersdisplacement of population who are fleeing for their lives. Their numbers according to various sources have now touched the figure of 1.56 million. Over one million people, currently stranded in Madayan, Behrain and Kalam valleys are seeking to flee the area, but they cannot do so due to continued curfew imposed by the army and road blockades and minefields laid by the militants.

They are being called Internally displaced persons (IDPs) - people who have been forced to flee Location Map of Internally Displaced Persons in Pakistan (From ReliefWeb)their homes but who, unlike refugees, remain within their country's borders. But I believe that they are refugees in their own country confined into ill resourced camps.

I am calling them refugees because while only a negligibly small percent of these IDPs have been able to move in with friends and families in other parts of the country, a majority of them have been confined to camps and not allowed freedom of movement in their own homeland due to fears by the authorities that Taliban might try to get out of the region or infiltrate into populous areas and cause security situations.

OneWorld has used tInternally Displaced Persons from Swat Valley Pakistan  reaching out for food. Source: Reutershe headline "IDPs living like 'cattle' in Pakistan camps" to describe the plight of these refugees which is true to a great extent. Their misery is compounded by the fact that the government of Pakistan which is already on the brink of financial collapse is unable to support them on its own. It is time for those who care to roll their sleeves up and join in to help.

While Pakistan Army is trying to rid the world of Taliban menace it is our collective responsibility to join in helping these people who are having to pay the price. How can you join! If you can contribute financially, organisations doing remarkable work in Pakistan and in those I would put my personal trust in include:

Clicking on the links above will take you directly to pages where you could make a donation or find contact details of centres nearest to you.

And finally there is a facebook group of caring People. Minimum you can do is raise awareness. Join in and let others who might like to contribute know.

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