Civil Society Comes to the Aid of North Waziristan IDPs

Khwendo Kor & Omar Asghar Khan Foundation
North Waziristan IDPs – A Humanitarian Response
1.  Introduction

On 16th June 2014 a military operation, Zarb-e-Azb, commenced in the North Waziristan
Agency (NWA) of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). The exodus of local
people accelerated, with an estimated 450,000 people fleeing their homes by end-June
2014. The numbers continue to rise. Men, women and children covered long distances
on  foot to  reach  safety, carrying  only  bare  essentials. Among  the Internally  Displaced
Persons (IDPs), the greatest number has taken refuge in the adjoining town of Bannu in
Khyber  Pakhtunkhwa  (KP).  Rejecting  the  camps  set  up  by  the  government on  the
grounds that they violate their strict segregation codes, the NWA IDPs have gathered in
whatever  serves  as temporary  shelter:  private hujras (part  of  residence  reserved  for
guests), public schools, factory stores, and even cattle enclosures.

Government  response  to  this  humanitarian  crisis  is  slow,  inadequate  and  ineffective.
After the camps were forsaken by the IDPs, the government set up distribution points
from where they provide cash grants, food and essential non-food items with the help of
the  UN  and  other  agencies.  But  the  disbursement  mechanism  is  extremely tedious
resulting in long queues in which old and young men stand for hours under the blazing
sun.  Many  have  to  make  several  trips  before  they  receive  any  relief.  The  situation  is
worse  for  women  who  do  not  have  any  male  family  members.  Though  separate
arrangements are made for them, they find the paperwork even more difficult.
The government’s key problem appears to be: too many cooks. The federal government
has authorized the military operation, which is being carried out in FATA by the armed
forces, resulting in displacement of people, a large number of whom are taking refuge in
the  adjoining  settled  areas  of  Khyber  Pakhtunkhwa.  The  federal  government,  the
military, the FATA administration and the provincial government of KP are all involved.
Limited coordination and shifting blame is common.

The  unfolding  humanitarian  crisis  requires  prompt action  and  input  from  as  many
individuals and organizations as possible. To contribute to these efforts, Khwendo Kor
(pushto  meaning  Women’s  Home) and  Omar  Asghar  Khan  Foundation  initiated: NWA
IDPs – a  humanitarian  response.  They  are working collaboratively  to  reach  displaced
families  taking  refuge  outside  camps. They will provide food and non-food  items,  with
special emphasis on the needs of women. Tailored packages for children  will  also  be
provided, helping them deal with the trauma of displacement and conflict.
In the following sections more details are provided. An outline on NWA is provided to
give a context. This is followed by information on: (a) the implementation capacity of KK
and the Foundation, (b) the specific relief packages they have drawn up and their costs,
and, (c) details on how an individual or an organization may send their contributions.

2. Context: North Waziristan


North Waziristan is one of the seven agencies that constitute FATA. The Governor of KP
is FATA’s chief executive, which has a distinct governance structure and an
administration that is independent from the provincial government of KP.

Spread across 4,707 km of rugged and mostly mountainous terrain, NWA borders Afghanistan on the west, South Waziristan on the south, and KP’s districts of Hangu and Bannu on the north and northeast. Government data showing an estimated population of about 400,000 appears unreliable as it is based on the out-of-date 1998 census, which was resisted by local people. Tribal customs reign, with the Wazirs being the dominant clan, and the reason the area is called Waziristan (land of the Wazirs).

NWA like the rest of FATA is poor. Livelihood opportunities are limited to agriculture, offfarm  labour  and  mining. Blood  feuds are  common,  with  many lasting  for  many  years,
with  multiple  generations  caught  in  the  conflict.  Conditions  over  the  past  many  years
have worsened. The presence of local and foreign militants has taken its toll, and further
eroded the writ of the state. Public services like education, health, clean drinking water,
or  sanitation  are  poor  or  non-existent. Failing  state  control  on  governance  and  local
resistance to immunization led to FATA becoming the source of the greatest numbers of
polio cases in the country and the world.

Displacement  has  further  impoverished  the  already  poor, who  have  endured  long
periods of local and foreign militant presence. Their interaction with the state was never
frequent, and became even less common after militants held sway in the area. They are
accustomed to FATA’s distinctive system of governance, but are largely unaware of the
working of provincial or federal governments.

3.  Implementation Capacity: about us
KK  and  the  Foundation  are  non-governmental  organizations  with  demonstrated
experience of responding to disasters. They provided relief and rehabilitation assistance
to hundreds of thousands affected by the 2005 earthquake, the 2009 military action in
Malakand  (including  Swat)  and  the  2010  floods.  Food  and  non-food  items  were
distributed, shelter in the form of tents and later using corrugated sheets were provided.
They initiated programmes for women and children – arranging medical camps, setting
up playgrounds and helping children deal with the trauma of conflict and displacement
with art and games.

3.1  Khwendo Kor
KK was formed in 1993 and is registered under the Societies Act 1860 (#2614/5/2280).
Its head office is in Peshawar and it has seven regional offices in different districts of KP,
including one in Bannu that is functional since the past 11 years. KK also has a liaison
office  in  Islamabad. KK strives to  empower  women,  with  interventions  in  education,
health,  economic  opportunities  and  civil  rights.  Their  programmes  are  implemented
across  KP  and  also  extend  into  FATA.  They  combine  policy  advocacy  and  service
delivery, which is effectively integrated in their efforts to build viable villages. Relief and
rehabilitation is considered a social responsibility, and included in all programmes. KK is
also registered as a charity organization in the United Kingdom under the name of UK
Friends of Khwendo Kor (UK-FROK)

3.2 Omar Asghar Khan Foundation
Established in 1999, the Foundation was registered in April 2000 under the Societies Act
1860  (#768/5/2873).  The  Foundation’s  programme  extends  across  Pakistan,  with  a
concentrated  field  presence  in  Khyber  Pakhtunkhwa.  It strives  for  a  democratic  and
peaceful society based on the values of equity, tolerance and justice in which all people
are  assured  a  life  of  quality.  It  works  with  citizens,  particularly  the  poor  and  the
vulnerable, to achieve human and livelihood security. The Foundation organizes citizens,
assists them in engaging with the state on policy and institutional reform, and supports
their  livelihood  strategies  through  skill-building,  credit  provision,  and  community
infrastructure development. The Foundation has a staff of 35 and offices in Islamabad
and Abbottabad.

4.  NWA IDPs – A Humanitarian Response
In response to the unfolding human tragedy as hundreds of thousands of people flee the
conflict areas of the NWA, KK and the Foundation decided to work together and initiated
its: NWA IDPs – A Humanitarian Response.

4.1 Who will it reach?
The  camps  set  up  by  the  government are  largely  rejected  by  the  IDPs,  as  the  forced
close  proximity  is  insensitive  to  their  strict  segregation  codes.  Most of  the displaced
families  have taken  refuge  in  public  schools  and  other  shelters.  The KK-Foundation
initiative  will  reach  these  off-camp  IDPs. Initial  assessments  are  being  carried  out  to
identify schools and other shelters, and the number of displaced, in the town of Bannu,
which will be the programme’s immediate focus. Depending on emerging conditions and
resources, relief will be extended to other towns as well.

4.2 What support will it provide?
In each shelter the Foundation will provide food and other non-food essential items like
floor  mats,  hand  fans,  soaps,  etc.  The  following  are  details  of  relief  items  per  family
(average family size is 7) and per shelter (estimated 50 families per school):




5.  How can you help?
You can donate cash, or give in-kind support, or volunteer your time. Cash contributions
can be made to:
Account Title:   Omar Asghar Khan Development Foundation
Current Account #:  0102801010019288
Bank:      MCB Bank (1028), Super Market, Islamabad-Pakistan
IBAN#:     PK11MUCB0102801010019288
All contributions are tax exempt
Tax exemption #6043/RTO/ATD/2008-09 dated 12 May.2009

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