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Pakistan's displaced face growing crisis

Pakistan’s military offensive against militants in North Waziristan has forced some 900,000 people to escape to nearby towns. Some of the displaced have been insisting they are not getting enough help.

BANNU: Pakistan’s military offensive against militants in North Waziristan has forced some 900,000 people to escape to nearby towns. Although the Pakistani government said it is providing the displaced with basic needs such as food, water and shelter, the now-homeless have been insisting they are not getting enough help.

Pakistan's Provincial Disaster Management Authority has registered 877,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) at a check post outside of Bannu, a small town in Pakistan’s northwest. Nearly a month has passed since the Pakistani army launched an assault against militant groups in North Waziristan region, following Taliban's deadly attack on Karachi airport in June.

But the government has only set up six distribution points to provide basic food and non-perishable items.

Displaced and homeless, the IDPs have voiced unhappiness with the inadequate emergency response so far.

Some of the displaced said they were hit by the police and army with sticks. The rationing process was also reported to be slow, with some people queueing for hours to receive their rations.

The government has kept food items for the internally displaced people of North Waziristan at a football stadium. However, many of the recipients have had to wait for days to get inside the sports complex and secure their rations.

Amid the frustration, some young labourers have found ways to make themselves a quick buck, by charging recipients 200 rupees to take their rations out of the stadium. Many of the displaced find it hard to pay for this service.

North Waziristan residents have also brought their cattle with them as they depend on these animals for their livelihood. Unfortunately, there is not enough food to feed the livestock.

Pakistan's provincial livestock department does not have enough resources to deal with the situation.

Syed Jahangir Shah, director of Livestock PATA, said: "If we build a proper shelter for these animals, our teams will be able to treat them for medical problems, and they will be able to offer them water and food as well."

Many of the displaced have already started selling their livestock for money to feed their families. 

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