UN receives just $136 mn for Pakistan’s displaced

June 9th, 2009 - 6:09 pm ICT by IANS  

Taliban New York, June 9 (IANS) The UN has received just $136 million, or just under one-fourth, of the $543 million it has appealed for to aid the three million civilians who have been displaced by the Pakistani military’s anti-Taliban operations in the country’s restive northwest.
Another $15 million has been pledged, APP news agency Tuesday quoted UN officials as saying.

The appeal had been made last month and was renewed at a donors’ conference earlier this month.

The US has separately pledged to directly provide Pakistan with $110 million and has asked Congress for another $200 million. This apart, Pakistan had also received pledges of $244 million at an international donors’ conference in Islamabad in May.

The World Food Programme (WFP), meanwhile, is dispatching critically needed food assistance to the refugees, it said Monday.

“Food is a basic building block for life, and in Pakistan, it goes beyond immediate nourishment by providing peace and stability to the human tide of people uprooted by conflict,” WFP Executive Director Josette Sheeran said in a statement in Rome Monday.

WFP was already feeding 6.2 million people in Pakistan, including 510,000 girls attending school, before the military action began in the North West Frontier Province (NWFP).

WFP, in cooperation with the Pakistani government and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), has devised a “service point” approach to distributing food and other relief assistance through “humanitarian hubs” in protected areas close to the homes of displaced families.

As the Pakistani authorities and UNHCR work to refine their process of registering families for food assistance, WFP is working to ensure that food is targeted sharply on those who need it most.

Twenty-eight “hubs” have so far been established where refugees receive monthly WFP food rations plus relief items such as cooking utensils and shelter materials against their verified registration card.

Nearly 90 percent of the refugees do not stay at relief camps but in host communities within easy reach of a humanitarian hub, WFP said.

The Pakistani military went into action after the Taliban reneged on a peace deal with the NWFP government and instead moved south from their Swat headquarters and occupied Buner, which is just 100 km from Islamabad.

The operations had begun in Lower Dir and later spread to Buner and Swat.

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