UN convene donor briefing on IDPs returns

ISLAMABAD: The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) convened a humanitarian donors meeting to update the international donor community on the overall situation in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) about the return of Internally Displaced Peoples (IDPs) to their homes.

According to a press statement issued here on Monday, donors were apprised on the progress of the returns process and the needs of the returning population.

The returns started in March this year in South Waziristan, North Waziristan, and Khyber Agencies. So far over 98,000 people have returned to their areas of origin after being displaced, some for many years.

A small number of families have returned so far to NWA. “It is the first time that the Government of Pakistan is undertaking returns in three agencies simultaneously;” remarked the Director General of FDMA, ”challenges are to be expected and while the pace of returns will decrease in some agencies it will increase in others.”

In January 2015, OCHA and the humanitarian country team released a plan to support the needs of displaced population and the returnees. The plan aims to mobilize US$433 million. So far only US$293 million have been secured out of which the Government contributed around US$60 million in wheat through the World Food Programme.

Donors were also informed of the needs of people who are still living in displacement. The Director General of PDMA requested the donor community to increase their level of funding for the immediate needs of the people who are still living in hosting communities and camps.

Representatives of SAFRON and EAD spoke to the resolve of the Government of Pakistan to restore peace and order in the tribal areas and to ensure the dignified return of the displaced people.

In closing the meeting, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator Dr Jacqueline Badcock, thanked the representatives of the government and donors who attended. She acknowledged the effort of the Government in facilitating returns. Dr. Badcock appreciated the support that was received so far by the donors, while acknowledging the global pressure on donors and competing global emergencies.

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