Pak: Military operation may displace 600,000 people

An international aid agency has said that an estimated 600,000 people will be displaced from Khyber agency if security operations continued.

Islamabad: Military operation against the militants in a Pakistani tribal region will displace nearly 600, 000 people, an international aid agency has said.

According to Save the Children, an estimated 600,000 people (of which over 300,000 are expected to be children) in total will be displaced from Pakistan`s Khyber agency if security operations continued, Xinhua news agency reported.

The recent influx of internally displaced people (IDPs) from the region began in January and intensified in mid-March as operations in the area increased. Since then, approximately 63,000 families have been displaced and moved to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

The recently displaced families join an estimated total of 144,104 displaced families from previous conflicts in the area, which have been continuing since 2009.

According to United Nations High Commission on Refugees (UNHCR), approximately 1,200 individuals are currently being registered at the Jalozai camp daily compared to up to 10,000 during mid-March.

According to Save the Children, over 90 percent of new IDPs are staying off-camp, living in rented spaces or with host families. It is imperative to assist the off-camp IDPs, as very limited relief services reach them.

As most IDPs are women and children belonging to a conservative culture, they are unwilling to live in camps and many are unable to access relief services. IDPs living with host communities say that they don`t expect to return home in next 12 months.


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