Friday, June 5, 2009

Funds for IDPs running short


By Khawar Ghumman - Friday, 05 Jun, 2009

ISLAMABAD: The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Pakistan has warned that humanitarian efforts for internally displaced people would have to be scaled down if the international community does not come up with immediate and generous financial assistance.

The office had appealed for $543 million to meet urgent needs of the displaced people.

But until today it had received only 22 per cent of the amount and the humanitarian efforts would be facing severe problems in a couple of weeks if more money was not received,’ head of the OCHA in Pakistan, Manuel Bessler, said at a press conference organised by the United Nations Information Centre on Thursday.

Mr Bessler said the OCHA was actively pursuing countries through the office of the UN secretary general for timely delivery of financial assistance.

On the eve of an international donor conference organised by the government of Pakistan for rehabilitation of the IDPs, the OCHA appealed for funds to sustain ongoing humanitarian efforts in the NWFP.

The platform of the EU conference will also be used for rapid and generous response for sustaining humanitarian efforts for the people uprooted from their areas.

Kilian Kleinschmidt of the UNHCR said that registration process was progressing with a few exceptions where some IDPs tried to register themselves more than once.

Citing one incident, he said a woman had registered herself 14 times at different places.

However, with the help of Nadra, such cases could be easily detected, he said.

‘We are running 21 organised camps for IDPs to look after around 200,000 people, which are being managed quite well. And 90 per cent of the displaced are staying with their relatives in the adjoining areas,’ Mr Kilian said.

He said that unorganised and spontaneous camps where around 100,000 people had taken refuge were a matter of concern.

‘We are very much concerned about their safety and security,’ he said.

Wolfgang Herbinger of the World Food Programme said: ‘We have set up a food bank between Peshawar and Nowshehra where people can deposit food for IDPs.

Besides, we have set up 25 distribution centres from where affected people could collect food.’

Daniel Baker of the UNFPA said their main concern was 69,000 pregnant women. About 6,000 of them would be giving birth in coming month and 900 would need pregnancy related surgeries.

With the help of the ministry of population welfare, 15 mobile units have been set up to meet needs related to reproductive health of women.

However, he said there was shortage of funds to sustain the efforts.

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