Tuesday, April 12, 2011

25 displaced families say goodbye to Jalozai camp

Tuesday, April 12, 2011
NOWSHERA: Convoy of eight vehicles comprising 25 internally displaced families from Mohmand Agency on Monday said goodbye to Jalozai settlement established for the internally displaced persons (IDPs) from the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) who had been uprooted from their native villages and towns because of violence. 

Following the decision of the government, the UNHCR and the relevant line departments, the IDPs were earlier intimated about return to their places of origin as peace was restored there. The returning IDPs were provided free transport by the Fata Disaster Management Authority (FDMA) to reach their hometowns and villages. 

On the first day of the return process, two dozens families displaced from Mohmand Agency left for their areas while the repatriation would continue till all the IDPs from Mohmand and Bajaur agencies were sent back to their homes.

The camp officials said all facilities including overall protection to the affected people by the relief organisations and the government would be provided to them in their places of origin.While the government has chalked out programme for the repatriation of the displaced people, the IDPs from Bajaur Agency were not willing to leave Jalozai camp as they had communicated their reservations to the camp officials. They said the government must first compensate them for the losses of their destroyed homes. They said their homes were destroyed in the military action that was carried out in Bajaur Agency to flush out militants.

On the other hand, the camp officials said the returning IDPs could take the tents provided in the camp along with them, as the government would compensate them once surveys were completed and losses properly documented.

Camp in-charge Abdul Akbar said that the government and the relief organisations would provide every facility to the IDPs in their native areas as IDPs status inside the Jalozai camp had been withdrawn. 

Meanwhile, the IDPs from Bajaur Agency would hold a consultative meeting today (Tuesday) at the camp to decide about their return, sources said. The return of IDPs from the humanitarian perspective is a voluntary process as governments around the world normally could not force or coerce vulnerable communities till complete protection is ensured in their places of origin, expert said. 

Statistical data suggested that more than 15,000 families uprooted from Bajaur, Mohmand and Khyber agencies are living in Jalozai camp. Besides Jalozai camp, a big portion of displaced people from Mohmand, Bajaur, Orakzai, Kurram and Khyber Agency were still living in host communities and rented houses in Mardan, Swabi, Charsadda, Nowshera and Peshawar districts in particular, sources said. 

Sources said the IDPs living in host communities and rented houses, particularly in Peshawar district where they are concentrated on Kohat Road, Dilazak Road, Tehkal, Tajabad, Bakhsho Pul, Yakkatoot, Inqilab Road, Garhi Atta Muhammad and Badaber, were the most vulnerable communities. 

Most of these families even included unregistered ones as they were displaced later because of violence in upper tehsil of Kurram Agency (Shalozan-Tangi) and were confronted with non-release of food ration or non-registration for World Food Programme free food facility, access to education and healthcare and unemployment, sources said. 

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