Islamabad: More funds are urgently needed to continue critical humanitarian assistance for over a million people temporarily displaced by violence across northwest Pakistan, a UN representative said on Wednesday.
Timo Pakkala, the UN Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator in Pakistan, made the announcement after a joint UN-Pakistan government team visited Kohat district in the troubled Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province.
The UN and its humanitarian partners have received USD 193 million since January for essential humanitarian activities in support of government-led relief assistance for displaced people. However, an estimated USD 126 million is still needed between now and December, an official statement said.
Additional funding is needed for displaced families returning home to reconstruct damaged houses, gain improved access to education, healthcare and water, and improve their livelihood.
Pakkala and senior UN and Pakistani officials evaluated humanitarian support provided to displaced families returning from camps and host communities to their homes in Tirah Valley of Khyber tribal region.
UN officials expressed concern that "humanitarian needs by far exceed current resources available to the government and the United Nations".
Over the past two weeks, 9,000 displaced people have returned to their homes in the tribal belt. Despite resource constraints, the government and its humanitarian partners have provided them return packages, including transport, non-food items, food and basic healthcare services.
"The government of Pakistan?s contribution of 75,000 metric tons of wheat was crucial to support humanitarian interventions during most of 2013," said Lola Castro, the World Food Programme`s representative in Pakistan.
"A second tranche of 75,000 metric tons of wheat from the government is required for these returnees as they will need food support for at least nine months to be able to return to their homes permanently."
Many families were displaced from Tirah Valley due to increased hostilities between rival militant groups and security operations. Many of them sought refuge in Peshawar, the capital of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, where they received basic humanitarian aid.