UNHCR “unilaterally postpones” facilitation to Tirah IDPs

Friday, March 22nd, 2013 3:00:03 by

PESHAWAR: The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has “unilaterally postponed”  facilitating the mass evacuation of internally displaced persons (IDPs) coming from the remote Tirah Valley of Khyber Agency due to the intense fighting of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan and Ansarul Islam, an official statement from the Fata Disaster Management Authority (FDMA) said on Friday.

Director FATA Disaster Management Authority Arshad Khan told media persons that the UNHCR had promised to provide assistance to the IDPs of Tirah on March 18. But three days later they changed their decision.

“Registration is the most important part in the whole process because without it humanitarian aid for the displaced cannot be provided.”

Khan added that the FDMA has been pleading their case with the UNHCR but there was no official communication so far which provided them with a reason for UNHCR’s “backing off from their commitment.”

The FDMA official said that as many as 4,290 families had fled the area due to clashes between the two militant groups and that the organisation was helping them in its limited resources.

The spokesperson for the UNHCR told The Express Tribune that they had suspended their operations in the Jalozai IDP camp only because of the situation.

On Thursday, at least 17 people, including women and children, were killed when a car bomb tore through the Jalozai refugee camp in Nowshera district as scores of people queued for rations. More than 28 others were also wounded in the blast.

However, the spokesperson said they would analyse and comment on the FDMA statement later.

After two months of clashes between the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), Ansarul Islam (AI), Lashkar-e-Islam (LI) and the pro-government Kamar Khel militia, Tirah Valley finally fell into the hands of TTP and LI on March 19, forcing thousands of residents to flee.

Geographically, the TTP now controls over 90% of the valley, including key routes leading towards the Orakzai and Kurram agencies – routes which were earlier cleared using surgical operations.

Peshawar News Sources -2

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