Thousands of residents flee conflict-hit Mingora

June 1st, 2009 - 4:39 pm ICT by ANI  

Mingora (Pakistan), June 1 (ANI): Thousands of stranded Mingora residents have fled Mingora and its surrounding localities after security forces relaxed curfew for some hours on Sunday.

The residents streamed out of the area to reach camps set up for internally displaced persons in Mardan and Swabi districts.

“The people stuck up in their houses had run out of eatables and the situation had become dire. Death stared us in the face as everybody was starving. Thanks to God that the curfew is relaxed and we are able to come out,” said Mohammad Nisar, a Mingora resident.

On Sunday, curfew was relaxed from 7a.m. to 1p.m., and Mingora looked like a war zone where every nook and corner was secured by troops.

Soldiers were seen taking positions in residential compounds, business centres, government buildings and streets.

Trapped people thronged the roads and appeared desperate to catch the next available transport to move out to safe areas or relief camps.

Security forces conducted body searches of the fleeing residents who were proceeding towards Mingora to evacuate their stranded relatives.

“People have been facing a dilemma as there is no timeframe for the military operation and the food had run out. Now, the people are getting desperate to flee the area,” said Hassan Khan, a Mingora resident.

Meanwhile, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) team also visited Mingora for the first time and expressed its shock over the grim humanitarian situation.

“People have been blocked for weeks. There is no running water, no electricity, and food is scarce. There is no fuel left for generators and most medical facilities in the district are no longer functioning,” said Daniel O’Malley, who led the team.

“Phone lines are down, so people have been cut off from the outside world and are anxious for contact with relatives who fled the area,” he added. (ANI)

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