‘93,000 IDPs returning to Lower Orakzai’
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