Federal agency asks for Rs1.5bn for displaced persons

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PESHAWAR: The Fata Disaster Management Authority has asked the federal government to give it Rs1.5 billion to cater for internally displaced persons of North Waziristan Agency. According to the relevant officials, the authority require funds to distribute cash to IDPs and fulfil their basic needs during the current month. The federal government had announced payment of Rs12,000 monthly assistance to every displaced family of North Waziristan.

Only the families, whose cases are okayed by the National Database and Registration Authority are getting cash assistance.

Until now, the Nadra has verified 55,183 families. The FDMA had initially registered a total of 95,830 displaced families.

The army had launched the Zarb-i-Azb operation against militants in North Waziristan Agency on June 18 causing displacement of hundreds of thousands of families.

The IDPs have either taken shelter with local residents or rented houses, while only 725 of them had taken shelter in Bakkakhel camp adjacent to the conflict-hit area. The army is managing the camp.

The relevant officials said the FDMA had sent letter to the Ministry of State and Frontier Region on August 27 and requested for the release of Rs1.5 billion immediately.

They said the amount would be used to pay monthly cash assistance to displaced families, and the related logistic and other purposes.

An official in the know said the sought-after funds were likely to be released within a week.

He, however, warned the cash relief programme could be suspended if the federal government delayed release of funds.

The government disburses cash through SIM cards distributed by a foreign cellular company.

Only IDPs from North Waziristan have been entitled for cash, while over one million displaced persons from other parts of Fata donor get such relief.

“It is sad that there was a delay in the release of funds meant for IDPs from North Waziristan, who had left everything behind as they evacuated in emergency,” said an official.

The IDPs, who recently held news conferences on their problems, especially on insufficient assistance, had complained that they were treated quite contrary to what they were promised when Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and other top government officials visited them after the launch of the military operation in North Waziristan.

Some had complained their married adult children were getting assistance, but they themselves despite old age and a separate family were unable to get even a single penny as their SIM cards were blocked due to issues with their addresses or their CNICs.The IDPs also complained the food distributed to them, especially children, was substandard by and large.