‘93,000 IDPs re­turn­ing to Lower Orakzai’

The Pak Banker - - 2national -

IS­LAM­ABAD: Some 93,000 In­ter­nally Dis­placed Per­sons (IDPs) hit by waves of con­flicts that oc­curred in 2008 have started re­turn­ing to Lower Orakzai in the Fed­er­ally Ad­min­is­tered Tribal Ar­eas (FATA). The first batch of at least 9,650 per­sons (1,121 fam­i­lies) be­gan their jour­ney to home on Novem­ber 29, says a press re­lease here on Fri­day.

UNHCR is fa­cil­i­tat­ing the re­turns along­side the Dis­as­ter Man­age­ment Author­ity in FATA from Mishti, Sheikhan and Issa Khel com­mu­ni­ties to Lower Orakzai Agency, west of Khy­ber Pakhtunkwa Prov­ince.

Prior to the start of the ac­tual re­turn, UNHCR with the help of part­ner or­ga­ni­za­tions con­ducted a re­turn in­ten­tion sur­vey to de­ter­mine how many peo­ple were will­ing to re­turn. Over 2,000 fam­i­lies in up­per and lower parts of dis­tricts Ko­hat and Hangu were sur­veyed. The re­sults of the sur­vey in­di­cated that 66 per­cent of the to­tal sur­veyed IDPs in­tended to re­turn. Forty-one per­cent of the sur­vey re­spon­dents from Lower Orakzai expressed their will­ing­ness to re­turn home im­me­di­ately, while 32 per­cent stated that they would re­turn within six months.

UNHCR is pro­vid­ing trans­port and other es­sen­tial house­hold items like mats, blan­kets, quilts, jerry cans to the re­turn­ing fam­i­lies. Two dis­tri­bu­tion points have been es­tab­lished in Chin­jani and Mir­bak, in the Lower Orakzai Agency for this pur­pose.

Be­ing the shel­ter clus­ter lead, UNHCR will also help fam­i­lies whose houses were dam­aged dur­ing the con­flict.

In or­der to en­sure the sus­tain­abil­ity of the re­turn, the agency will monitor pro­vi­sions of as­sis­tance and iden­tify aris­ing needs in the re­turn ar­eas. Ah­mad Warsame, Head of UNHCR Of­fice in Khy­ber Pakhtunkwa, said, "It is en­cour­ag­ing to see IDPs mak­ing an in­formed de­ci­sion about their re­turn, equally sup­ported by the Govern­ment of Pak­istan which en­sures that the process takes place in safety and dig­nity". -App

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