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Offline bigron

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The “war on terror”: creating refugees one village at a time

by Marcy Newman, body on the line

http://www.uruknet.info/?p=m54408&hd=&size=1&l=e

(visit above page for important links)

May 20, 2009

tam tam and i have been planning a trip we want to take next summer. we’ve been thinking about where we want to go and who might want to join us. one of the criteria we have agreed on is that the place we go cannot be involved in or complicit with any colonial or imperial adventures. and, as you can imagine, this leaves out a number of places in the world. for instance, in nancy better’s article in the new york times today seems to be reporting that americans should take their summer vacations in the zionist entity (a place where tam tam is not allowed to visit because she is a palestinian refugee in lebanon):

Our Golan Heights excursion unleashed a torrent of questions about the war for independence and Israel’s 1948 declaration of statehood. We found answers at the Ayalon Institute, formerly a clandestine munitions factory built by the Haganah (the pre-independence armed forces) under a kibbutz near Tel Aviv. Restored and opened to the public, the institute is not mentioned in many guidebooks and gets little press. Yet Charlie — who devours detective novels and has twice toured the International Spy Museum in Washington — declared it his favorite site.

The place conveys a real sense of danger; had the Haganah members been discovered, they would have been hanged. The factory operations were concealed by a bakery and laundry; a 10-ton oven and a large washing machine hid entrances to the shop floor, which housed as many as 50 workers who, at the peak, produced 40,000 bullets a day. The noise of the washing machines camouflaged the din of the manufacturing process below ground.

David was especially fascinated by the sunlamps that munitions workers used to get an artificial tan. "It’s like an alibi," our guide explained. "They pretended to leave the kibbutz each morning to work on a neighboring farm and then they sneaked back into the factory to make bullets. People would be suspicious if they looked too pale."

Next we traveled to Akko, site of a medieval Crusaders’ fortress and later an Ottoman citadel. When the Turks were defeated by the British in 1918, the fortress became a high-security prison that held Jewish freedom fighters. Today the Underground Prisoners Memorial Museum pays tribute to them. A gloomy, ominous air hangs over the prison cells, with their thick stone walls, iron bars and narrow windows. Our group was mesmerized by the gallows room, with a noose centered over a trapdoor in the floor.

the above is just a sample of what the article says. you may click the link and read the entire piece and in it you will not find one use of the word palestine or palestinian. there’s no mention of the fact that akka is a palestinian city and that those so-called "jewish freedom fighters" were and are terrorists who massacred palestinians, stole their land, and created 750,000 refugees. there is no mention of syria either in their little excursion to occupied golan.

conversely, adrian bridge’s recent article in the telegraph on sri lankan tourism talks about the tamils, although as if they are only resistance fighters and not a massive civilian population massacred and made into refugees:

With the fighting still fresh, outrage over the number of civilians killed and fears that pockets of Tamil Tiger fighters may continue with terrorist attacks, the Foreign Office continues to advise against all travel to the north and east of Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka travel experts, however, hope that in the long term, the ending of the 26-year-long civil war will signal a fresh start for tourism in what is potentially one of the most attractive holiday destinations in Asia.

"This is a good step forward but we have to be cautiously optimistic; there is still a lot of work to be done to bring about a true peace," said Jean-Marc Flambert, who promotes a number of hotels in Sri Lanka.

"But in fact the best beaches on the island are on the east coast. Also, with the rainy season there coming at a different time to the rain in the south and west it could turn Sri Lanka into a year round destination."

the above link came to me via the amazing rapper @_m_i_a_ on twitter (aka maya arulpragasam) and her perfect tweet in response to the article was:

I SAY YEAH … IF U like swimming in blood and hiking and biking on mass graves and eating chemically contaminated fried fish for lunch.

the problem with this story about sri lanka and its war against a civilian tamil population is that even news sources like al jazeera continue to report in a decidedly biased way. take this report by tony birtley on al jazeera today in which he says that 17,000 tamil fighters were killed:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-MHsUvKr1A0&eurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Euruknet%2Einfo%2F%3Fp%3Dm54408%26hd%3D%26size%3D1%26l%3De&feature=player_embedded

 

tamil net gives us rather different figures:

Sea Tiger Special Commander of the LTTE, Col. Soosai Sunday noon said that around 25,000 civilians injured in the artillery attack of Sri Lanka Army are dead and dying now without receiving medical attention. The LTTE has repeatedly requested the ICRC through Mr. Pathmanathan to evacuate the injured through Vadduvaakal or Iraddaivaaikkaal, but there was no IC response. Within a 2 square kilometre area, there are dead bodies everywhere while the remaining thousands are in bunkers amidst the use of every kind of weapon by Colombo’s forces. The SLA is not even allowing the people to flee but prefers to fire at them, Soosai said.

for people who want some background on the conflict al jazeera put up a time line on their website starting from sri lanka’s independence from british rule–1948 (yes, the british "leave" one colony and ensure the existence of a new one in the same year)–through the recent genocide. additionally the conversation on democracy now! yesterday between anjali kamat and ahilan kadirgamar that provided some context that doesn’t demonize tamils seeking liberation:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UE6vDUneY2Q&eurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Euruknet%2Einfo%2F%3Fp%3Dm54408%26hd%3D%26size%3D1%26l%3De&feature=player_embedded

i think that the above interview is important for the way it reveals the orwellian language used by the sri lankan government in which internment camps become "welfare centers." all of this has been enhanced and made possible by the u.s. exporting of the so-called "war on terror" in which any government wanting to clamp down on resistance groups can commit massacres and genocide and get away with it.

suren surendiran’s article in the guardian today gives us some further context and a broader understanding of the toll this has taken on the tamil people of sri lanka:

Sri Lankan military killed thousands of Tamil civilians over the past few months (not to mention the years before) using the full might of its fire power by way of artillery and air strikes. It has, with intent, starved its own people by refusing to send food and medicine in sufficient quantities and in adequate frequencies.

Crucially, this genocide by the Sri Lankan state has been enabled by the international community, including Britain.

What is deeply disappointing is the fact that powerful liberal states which have long espoused human rights, the Geneva conventions and, most recently, the responsibility to protect, have all allowed thousands of innocent lives to be lost unnecessarily and with full knowledge.

The slaughter went on every day, with many women and children being killed not just by the shelling but due to starvation and lack of medical care. Yet the international response, especially those of the UN and western liberal states, has been pathetic. Mere statements after statements were released by heads of states like Gordon Brown and Barack Obama and institutions such as the UN, EU and various non-governmental organisations such as Amnesty, HRW and Crisis Group. No one showed real leadership in stopping this genocide which took place in broad daylight.

Even now thousands of displaced young Tamils are being abducted and disappeared, the wounded and injured are not given medical care and families are separated and abused in overcrowded barbed-wire-fenced camps. Thousands are still lining up at check points which have no independent observers present. International media has no way of reporting without government interference.

Sri Lanka is conducting this war beyond its means. Its economy is in a mess due to mismanagement, as stated by the World Bank. Sri Lanka’s Central Bank is seeking an emergency loan from the IMF due to its fast depleting reserves. Yet, year on year defence budget has been consistently rising by huge percentages. Regional powers and others have assisted financially and otherwise to continue with this government’s war with its own people. Unemployed youth from Sri Lanka’s rural south who could be put to more constructive development use were being used for destruction and killing.

Pretending to promote human rights and high moral values, western governments are turning a blind eye to the state terrorism in Sri Lanka, but also incentivising such horrendous violations by granting large sums in loans and grants. Hypocrisy of the international community is obvious as they argue any sanctions against such financial assistance will hurt the wider economy of Sri Lanka. The same wasn’t true it seems for the poor Zimbabweans or the Palestinians of Gaza City.

of course, i wrote the other day about the zionist entity providing sri lanka with its weapons in order to carry out this genocide. the genocide may be over in sri lanka, but the trauma will not be over for a long time. nor will the refugees lead a normal life for some time to come either. and while this massive refugee crisis comes to a head the one in pakistan just continues to worsen also because of a so-called "war on terror" instigated by americans. unhcr is now reporting that refugees may be reaching 1 million:

The number of displaced people registered since May 2 by authorities with help from UNHCR climbed above the 1 million mark over the weekend and continues to rise rapidly. Most of the displaced are staying with relatives or friends, placing huge economic and social strains on the country. More than 130,000 others are staying in camps supported by UNHCR. The 1.17 million recently registered join another 555,000 Pakistanis displaced in earlier fighting since last August.

and for those who need reminding that this is a united states-made war on the civilian population of pakistan, the u.s. bombed the region yet again this week as alamgir bitani reported in the independent:

A bomb blew up in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar on today killing 10 people, hours after a suspected US drone aircraft fired missiles at militants in another region on the Afghan border and killed 10.

The violence came as the Pakistani military battled Taliban militants in a northwestern valley in an offensive that has forced more than 900,000 people from their homes.

The blast in Peshawar blew up a passing school bus and city police chief Sifwat Ghayyur said four children and two women were among the dead.

"It was a remote controlled bomb. Ten people have been killed and 18 wounded," Ghayyur told Reuters.

according to mainstream american news media, they are praising these actions in pakistan calling them "effective" on cnn as reported in common dreams:

U.S. airstrikes aimed at al Qaeda leaders in Pakistan have been "very effective," with few civilian deaths as a result, CIA Director Leon Panetta said Monday in a rare public acknowledgment of the raids.

Asked about criticism of the missile attacks by counterinsurgency experts, Panetta said he did not want to discuss specifics, "but I can assure you that in terms of that particular area, it is very precise and is very limited in terms of collateral damage."

"Very frankly, it’s the only game in town in terms of confronting or trying to disrupt the al Qaeda leadership," Panetta told the Pacific Council on International Policy in Los Angeles.

i just wonder what is effective about creating 1 million refugees? bombing civilian villages? sowing the seeds of future generations who will seek justice for sure and perhaps vengeance. though who knows because the media campaign in pakistan seems to be as mythologizing as the american media with respect to distancing the war from the united states as declan walsh reported in the guardian the other day:

The human exodus from the war-torn Swat valley in northern Pakistan is turning into the world’s most dramatic displacement crisis since the Rwandan genocide of 1994, the UN refugee agency warned.

Almost 1.5 million people have registered for assistance since fighting erupted three weeks ago, the UNHCR said, bringing the total number of war displaced in North West Frontier province to more than 2 million, not including 300,000 the provincial government believes have not registered. "It’s been a long time since there has been a displacement this big," the UNHCR’s spokesman Ron Redmond said in Geneva, trying to recall the last time so many people had been uprooted so quickly. "It could go back to Rwanda."

The army reported fierce clashes across Swat, a tourist haven turned Taliban stronghold. After a week of intense aerial bombardment with fighter jets and helicopter gunships the army has launched a ground offensive to drive out the militants to rout the militants from the valley. Commandos pushed through the remote Piochar valley, seizing a training centre and killing a dozen Taliban, a military spokesman, Major General Athar Abbas, said. Gun battles erupted in several villages surrounding Mingora, Swat’s main town. Abbas said the military had killed 27 militants, including three commanders, and lost three members of the security forces. The figures could not be verified, as Swat has been largely cut off since the operation started.

The Taliban leader in Swat, Maulana Fazlullah, remains at large. His spokesman vowed the rebels would fight until their "last breath".

The operation continues to enjoy broad public support. Opposition parties endorsed the action at a conference called by the government, dispelling the notion that the army was fighting "America’s war".

farooq sulehria has a great piece in dissident voice on the way that this media and military campaign has been playing out in pakistan, and here is the upshot:

Over 700 people have been killed in U.S. drone attacks on Pakistan since 2006, with 164 killed in 14 attacks under Obama’s watch. These drone attacks are further fueling anti-U.S. sentiments.

Instead of finding an exit strategy in Afghanistan, the Obama administration is practicing an Iraq-style surge. But it is U.S. presence in the region that will sustain the conditions that breed Talbanisation. The longer the USA stays in Afghanistan, the longer the Taliban’s defeat will be delayed and the suffering of the poor masses prolonged. For those lucky enough to survive bombs dropped by the Pakistan military in Swat, they will also have to deal with the possibility of having their throats slit by Taliban hit squads. Or they have the option to become refugees in their own country.

and just like the american support for the zionist entity when it gives it massive bombs to pound gaza (which it is doing as i type, by the way) and then gives money to rebuild gaza (which it only pledged, it never actually gave the money), the americans are paying to bomb pakistan and now paying to supposedly help the refugees:

Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, has pledged $110m in humanitarian aid to Pakistan as part of Washington’s new strategy for helping Islamabad counter Taliban’s growing influence.

Clinton announced the aid package during a press conference at the White House on Tuesday.

She said the money is meant to ease the plight of at least two million Pakistanis who have fled fighting in the country’s Swat valley and are living in squalid tent cities.

US officials said $100m in aid would flow from Clinton’s state department and the other $10m will come from the defence department.



 

Offline HealthWyze

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Re: The “war on terror”: creating refugees one village at a time
« Reply #1 on: May 22, 2009, 10:52:04 am »
Interesting stuff. Thanks for posting.
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Offline Satyagraha

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Re: The “war on terror”: creating refugees one village at a time
« Reply #2 on: May 24, 2009, 11:05:25 pm »
Over 80,000 trapped in Swat remote area Miandam
Updated at: 1821 PST,  Sunday, May 24, 2009

http://www.geo.tv/5-24-2009/42728.htm

MINGORO: Over eighty thousand people were still trapped in the far-flung area of Swat, who yet couldn’t shift to the safer places due to relentless curfew and closure of roads, while the stocks of food grains and other essential items have exhausted and no sign of its being replenished soon.

Talking to Geo News from Miandam on phone, Irfanullah told that more than 80000 people mostly women and children were still trapped at Miandam and they were in need of food grains and other essential items in acute shortage. Irfanullah appealed to the government for paving way for them to come out of this place or lese supply flour to us.
And  the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, 
Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren,  ye have done it unto me.

Matthew 25:40

Offline Satyagraha

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Re: The “war on terror”: creating refugees one village at a time
« Reply #3 on: May 25, 2009, 09:14:21 am »
Nearly 2.4 million displaced by offensive: UN

http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/news/pakistan/14-nearly-24-million-displaced-by-offensive-un-zj-05

ISLAMABAD: Nearly 2.4 million people have registered with provincial authorities after fleeing an anti-Taliban military offensive this month in northwest Pakistan, the UN and government officials said Monday, AFP reports.

Ariane Rummery, spokeswoman for the UNHCR, said they had been given the figure by the North West Frontier Province authorities and expected the number to fluctuate after cross checks are carried out in the coming days.

‘In the new influx, 2.38 million people have been registered,’ she said. ‘That’s the new influx registered from May two from Swat, Lower Dir and Buner.’

Pakistan’s security forces launched their onslaught against Taliban fighters in the districts of Lower Dir on April 26, Buner on April 28 and Swat on May 8, sending terrified civilians fleeing their homes.

Most of the displaced are staying with friends and relatives, while others are crammed into government-run camps.

Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira told reporters the government was doing all it could to care for the massive number of uprooted people.

‘Around 2.3 million people have been displaced but this number is not final,’ he said.

The newly-displaced join more than 550,000 people who fled similar battles last year and rights groups have warned that it is Pakistan’s biggest movement of people since partition from India in 1947.

And  the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, 
Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren,  ye have done it unto me.

Matthew 25:40

Offline Satyagraha

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Re: The “war on terror”: creating refugees one village at a time
« Reply #4 on: May 25, 2009, 10:20:58 am »
Starvation stalks Swat valley

By Faizullah Jan and Syed Irfan Ashraf
Saturday, 23 May, 2009 | 08:38 AM PST |

http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/news/pakistan/11-starvation-stalks-swat-valley--il--07

POLITICIANS and analysts are often heard discussing the measures being taken to minimise the collateral damage resulting from the Swat and Buner operations.

But their words come across as mere rhetoric to those who are actually experiencing a living hell. While the IDPs in camps have their own set of difficulties where the provision of necessities is involved, those who are still in the Swat valley are facing dire food shortages, a prolonged curfew and Taliban militancy. A phone call from the trapped people in the scenic town of Bahrain on the main Kalam-Mingora road indicates the measure of desperation. ‘We have been under curfew for the last three weeks. ‘There is no wheat flour, no rice, no sugar, no medicine,’ says Iqbal Khan. ‘Today we eat only peas and potatoes. Soon we will be foraging for leaves in the woods.’

Starvation also stalks the vales of Matta, Odegram, Hazara, Shill Hund, Shah Dheri and Kalam where, as in Bahrain, stocks of food and medicine are fast depleting. Thanks to the curfew, these areas have been cut off from the rest of the country ever since the military operation began. Worried about the looming starvation, a Kalam local, Noor Zada, says over the phone, ‘We are fighting on two fronts. The Taliban are about to take us to task for defying them while the absence of food and medicine can only kill us.’

While correct figures are not available, it is estimated that over 400,000 people are trapped in the northern belt of Swat stretching from Mingora, Miandam, Madyan and Bahrain to Kalam tehsil. At least 800,000 are believed to be stranded in Kabal, Aligrama, Hazara, Shah Dheri, Shill Hund etc. The plight of thousands living in the main town of Mingora and its outskirts is scarcely any different. While many are unwilling to leave because they are unsure of conditions in camps and the security of their families en route, some have chosen to stay back for other reasons.

In an essentially agrarian society like Swat, families cannot afford to abandon their hearths and homes. Their chattel, standing crops and orchards are their lifeline and looked upon as extensions of their body and soul. The poor farmers of upper Swat invest a whole season of their lives to plough fields and prune orchard trees.

When they lost tourism to the medieval mentality of the jihadists, potatoes and turnips were their only source of sustenance and revenue. They sold their yields down-country to make ends meet, also storing some of the produce for their own use in the harsh winters. But protracted hostilities in the valley have left them with no cash, and supplies in storage are virtually exhausted. Thus starvation awaits the population of Swat if the military operation does not rectify matters. The situation in lower Swat, including the outskirts of Mingora and Bari Kot, is equally alarming.

Operation Rah-i-Rast caught Swat residents unawares. They had little time to pack up and leave for a safer place. Only half the population of Swat managed to leave the valley of death. Even then, a majority left behind one or two family members to guard homes and keep an eye on standing crops and chattel. Others, including scores of families in upper Swat, could not flee due to non-availability of transport or simply because they could not afford the travel expenses. Children are missing in hundreds while families in Peshawar wait for male members to turn up, expecting them to have taken refuge with their relatives in upper Swat — although nothing is certain.

The stranded people face a bizarre situation: death is staring them in the face from three directions. If the military operation is a protracted one, they face starvation because of curfew and the consequent closure of supply routes; if the operation intensifies there is bound to be great collateral damage; and if the Taliban face defeat they may turn on the residents for not being on their side. Their fears are justified.

In November 2007, 60 militants with heavy weapons marched on Kalam tehsil in Swat. However, they left when a local jirga told them to implement Sharia in lower Swat first and then extend it to Kalam. Many Taliban took this as defiance. After two years, over 50 Taliban armed with sophisticated weapons reached Kalam to settle past scores. This led to a clash in which six Taliban were taken hostage. The issue was resolved on Thursday, when the elders of Kalam, fearing a Buner-like situation in which suicide bombings and brutal punishments were imposed on the people for defying the Taliban, offered to free the captured militants in return for the release of 150 of their own people in Taliban custody.

Meanwhile, hospitals in these areas are not functioning. There is no electricity, no medicine, no doctors. Collateral damage does not simply mean death by a stray mortar shell and carpet bombing — it can also include fatalities caused by starvation and disease. This is what analysts and strategists are not factoring into their discussion about civilian casualties in Swat.

With many Swat residents wanting to move out of the area, they need to be supported by the government. The first thing that the government can do is to provide them safe passage — in Kurram Agency people were airlifted although there could be technical difficulties in doing so where Swat’s larger population is concerned — before they end up as the Taliban’s human shields. But before that food and medicine must be airdropped, especially in areas where the militants have not reached.

Today the people of Swat loathe the Taliban and look towards the government to rescue them. They are ready to fight alongside the army against the extremists. But if the government’s apathy and the people’s agony persist — as exemplified at the time of writing by a procession from Bahrain marching towards Madyan chanting ‘atta do ya raasta do’ (‘give us bread or safe passage’) we can end up counting Swat residents among the Taliban.

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And  the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, 
Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren,  ye have done it unto me.

Matthew 25:40

Offline trailhound

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Re: The “war on terror”: creating refugees one village at a time
« Reply #5 on: May 25, 2009, 10:24:48 am »
war on evil farmers :P disgusting

"Do not let your hatred of a people incite you to aggression." Qur'an 5:2
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Offline Satyagraha

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Re: The “war on terror”: creating refugees one village at a time
« Reply #6 on: May 25, 2009, 11:20:10 am »
66,000 Pregnant Women in IDP camps

Updated at: 2022 PST,  Monday, May 25, 2009
SWAT: There are 66,000 pregnant women present in the camps of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), a report of the United Nations said.

Most of these women are expected to deliver in the next three months, the report added.
And  the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, 
Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren,  ye have done it unto me.

Matthew 25:40

Offline trailhound

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Re: The “war on terror”: creating refugees one village at a time
« Reply #7 on: May 25, 2009, 11:56:29 am »
War on evil pregnant widows :P

"Do not let your hatred of a people incite you to aggression." Qur'an 5:2
At the heart of that Western freedom and democracy is the belief that the individual man, the child of God, is the touchstone of value..." -RFK

Offline cristiano

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Re: The “war on terror”: creating refugees one village at a time
« Reply #8 on: May 25, 2009, 07:55:51 pm »
Hello there.I have a good news for you.Over eighty thousand people were still trapped in the far-flung area of Swat, who yet couldn’t shift to the safer places due to relentless curfew and closure of roads, while the stocks of food grains and other essential items have exhausted and no sign of its being replenished soon.
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Offline Satyagraha

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Re: The “war on terror”: creating refugees one village at a time
« Reply #9 on: May 26, 2009, 10:21:11 pm »
Now for the vaccines....

http://www.geo.tv/5-27-2009/42877.htm

Anti-polio drive at IDPs camps from today
 Updated at: 0214 PST,  Wednesday, May 27, 2009

MALAKAND: The anti-polio campaign at the relief camps of internally displaced persons (IDPs) will kick off today whereby children under five years of age will be served anti-polio vaccination.

The health minister of NWFP Syed Zahir Ali Shah will commence the anti-polio drive by vaccinating drops of anti-polio vaccines to the children at IDPs camps here on Wednesday. On the occasion, the representatives of the World Health Institutions will educate people over the importance of anti-polio vaccination, sources said.
And  the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, 
Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren,  ye have done it unto me.

Matthew 25:40

Offline Satyagraha

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Re: The “war on terror”: creating refugees one village at a time
« Reply #10 on: May 29, 2009, 05:38:20 am »
Displaced residents return to destroyed Sultanwas village
Friday, 29 May, 2009 | 10:23 AM PST |
http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/news/pakistan/provinces/07-Displaced-residents-return-to-destroyed-Sultanwas-village-ha-06

SULTANWAS: When Pakistan army drove the Taliban back from this small north-western village, it also destroyed much of everything else here.

F-16 fighter jets, military helicopters, tanks and artillery reduced houses, mosques and shops to rubble, strewn with children’s shoes, shattered TV sets and perfume bottles.

Commanders say the force was necessary in an operation they claim killed 80 militants.

But returning residents do not believe this: Although a burned-out army tank at the entrance to Sultanwas indicates the Taliban fought back, villagers say most fighters fled into the mountains.

Beyond any doubt is their fury at authorities for wrecking their homes – the sort of backlash the army doesn’t want as it tries to win the support of the people for its month-old offensive against the Taliban in the northwest region.

‘The Taliban never hurt the poor people, but the government has destroyed everything,’ Sher Wali Khan told the first reporting team to reach the village of about 1,000 homes.

‘They are treating us like the enemy,’ he said as he collected shredded copies of the Quran from the ruins of a mosque, one of three that were damaged, possibly beyond repair.

The anger in this village is an echo of recent years, when previous army offensives against the Taliban in the north-western frontier area caused widespread civilian casualties and damage to homes. The military’s heavy-handed approach here shows it may still be more equipped to fight conventional war than guerrilla warfare in the shadows of mountain villages and towns, where militants use civilians as cover.

The Associated Press travelled to Sultanwas on Wednesday after the Pakistan army briefly lifted a curfew in Buner to allow residents to return.

But the fight for the region is clearly not over. Just beyond the village, a makeshift army checkpoint shows where its control ends. Beyond that, the army and villagers say the Taliban are in charge, patrolling streets on foot and in pickup trucks.

The United States wants a resounding victory against insurgents who are threatening not only the stability of Pakistan, but also the success of the American-led mission in neighbouring Afghanistan.


But residents of Sultanwas say the militants in their village threatened no one.

Khan, a 17-year-old who is quick with a smile and hopes to attend medical school, said about five militants occasionally came to a mosque. There, he said, they preached an ultraconservative brand of Islam and called for overthrowing the government because it was not implementing Islamic law. He said he did not agree with either position.

Khan fled with his family and most other residents when the army warned them last week to get out because the offensive was about to reach them.

The Taliban entered Buner last month from the Swat Valley, an advance that triggered the military’s offensive. There was very little damage to buildings in the road leading to Sultanwas, which military officials said used to be one of the Taliban’s major strongholds in the district.

The army says it is making every effort to avoid damaging buildings in the offensive.

Reporters on a military-escorted trip to part of the Swat Valley last week saw no significant destruction.

But the army used helicopters, F-16 jets, tanks and artillery in the battle for Sultanwas.

While the military says this tactic reduces army casualties by ‘softening up’ areas before troops move in, critics question its effectiveness against a small and, for the most part, lightly armed insurgent force moving in and out of towns.

Khan and others insisted the militants were not living in their homes either before or after the attack.

There were no bodies, blood or obviously buried corpses in the rubble, which spans an area the size of two football fields, roughly a third of the village. A reporter could find no sign any rebels had dug in there or used the area as a base. Residents said the same.

‘When the operation started, the Taliban all ran away from the area,’ said Rosi Khan, citing an account from the only three villagers who he said stayed behind. He could not say where those villagers are now.

Spokesman Maj. Gen. Athar Abbas said fleeing villagers had told military officials that militants were using Khan’s house and others nearby. He said 80 insurgents were killed in the operation, and that other militants apparently removed their bodies.

But two officers involved in the Buner operations said most of the roughly 400 fighters believed to be there escaped to the mountains – terrain they know far better than do army troops trucked in from elsewhere in Pakistan.

It is a pattern the military says the outgunned and outnumbered militants are following elsewhere in the region, including in the main Swat Valley city of Mingora.

A defence attaché for a Western embassy said the Swat operation appeared to be better organised and more coordinated than earlier ones in the northwest. But he questioned whether the 15,000 troops deployed against roughly 4,000 militants were enough to secure the region.

Besides Swat, Pakistan needs to keep troops elsewhere in the border region where al-Qaida and other militants are strong. But most of the roughly 700,000-member army is stationed on or close to the border with India, the country’s traditional rival.

To claim victory, the government will have to ensure the militants do not return to the Swat Valley and Buner, and that the 2.4 million people who fled the fighting stay on the government’s side when they come home.

The army is appealing for refugees to return to Sultanwas, but as elsewhere in Buner, few were heeding the call.

A week after the battle for this village ended, there was still no police, electricity or civilian administration.

‘The political leadership is not here, there is no police,’ said a senior army officer, who asked not be named. ‘How can you expect them to return?’

An AP photographer saw several people looting food and drinks from a damaged store in Sultanwas. They stopped only when other villagers reprimanded them.

At a checkpoint in Sultanwas, young men riding in buses from Taliban-controlled Pir Baba were ordered to lift their shirts and be searched, but there was little sign they were making serious checks of all those leaving the area.

In Pir Baba, Taliban fighters armed with rocket launchers and assault rifles are patrolling the streets, said Mohammed Yusuf, a 50-year-old farmer who was leaving but intended to return after buying vegetables at the nearest open market, several miles away.

‘They are on the streets in the morning and evening,’ Yusuf said. ‘They are friendly. Some of them I know from my area.’
 
And  the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, 
Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren,  ye have done it unto me.

Matthew 25:40

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Re: The “war on terror”: creating refugees one village at a time
« Reply #11 on: May 29, 2009, 05:41:13 am »
Now for the vaccines....

http://www.geo.tv/5-27-2009/42877.htm

Anti-polio drive at IDPs camps from today
 Updated at: 0214 PST,  Wednesday, May 27, 2009

MALAKAND: The anti-polio campaign at the relief camps of internally displaced persons (IDPs) will kick off today whereby children under five years of age will be served anti-polio vaccination.

The health minister of NWFP Syed Zahir Ali Shah will commence the anti-polio drive by vaccinating drops of anti-polio vaccines to the children at IDPs camps here on Wednesday. On the occasion, the representatives of the World Health Institutions will educate people over the importance of anti-polio vaccination, sources said.


1.3m children may miss polio drops in Frontier
http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/news/pakistan/provinces/16-1-3m-children-may-miss-polio-drops-in-frontier-hs-13

PESHAWAR: The provincial health department kicked off a three-day polio eradication and vitamin supplementation campaign here on Wednesday.

Health Minister Syed Zahir Ali Shah inaugurated the campaign, to be run from May 28 to May 30 in the settled and tribal areas, at a ceremony held at the IDP camp in Jalozai, Nowshera. He also administered polio drops to the displaced children below five years of age.
 
Director General Health NWFP, Dr Fazal Mehmood said that last year 53 polio cases had reported in the province while this year only seven cases had been detected. He hoped that vaccination of the children deprived of polio drops for quite a long period would be possible in the IDP camps.

Ershad Karim of the Unicef said that Pakistan was still on top of the polio endemic countries in the world. ‘There is dire need to transform the drive against polio into a national movement,’ he asserted.

Dr Abdul Jabbar of the WHO said that the challenge of the IDPs was a threat for polio eradication drive as it had disturbed epidemiological balance. He apprehended that 1.3 million children might not be accessible in the current drive.


And  the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, 
Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren,  ye have done it unto me.

Matthew 25:40

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Re: The “war on terror”: creating refugees one village at a time
« Reply #12 on: May 29, 2009, 05:53:31 am »
Unicef runs out of relief supplies, appeals for funds

By Amin Ahmed
Thursday, 28 May, 2009 | 02:56 AM PST

RAWALPINDI: The Unicef Pakistan has almost exhausted its contingency funds and stocks of relief goods and has appealed for an additional $41.4 million for providing immediate assistance to people displaced by fighting in parts of the NWFP.

The $41.4 million request is part of the global appeal for $543.2 million for major humanitarian efforts.

Working in cooperation with the government, United Nations, and the partners, Unicef is providing drinking water, nutrition, health support, education and protection to children and families wherever possible.

Unicef fears displacement of more people in the days ahead with the expansion of the area of the military operation.

Over half of the displaced are children and humanitarian efforts have been strained by a rapid increase in the number of people fleeing fighting in the Malakand division.

The number of displaced people has reached about 2.5 million. A large number of them have poured into camps and host communities. They have few possessions and are in urgent need of safe water, clothing, food, shelter, healthcare and protection.

Difficulties of access combined with shortages of essential supplies and funding are hindering efforts to provide life-saving support to children and women.

Many of the newly displaced are yet to receive any assistance, and only around 10 per cent of them are in camps serviced by national or international humanitarian agencies.

In the coming months, Unicef plans to expand its services and provide humanitarian assistance to displaced children and women both in camps and in host communities.

http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/news/pakistan/11-unicef-runs-out-ofrelief-supplies--appeals-for-funds--il--12
 
And  the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, 
Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren,  ye have done it unto me.

Matthew 25:40

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Re: The “war on terror”: creating refugees one village at a time
« Reply #13 on: May 30, 2009, 02:08:29 pm »
Offensive imminent in Charbagh as army asks residents to leave
Saturday, 30 May, 2009 | 02:46 PM PS

PESHAWAR: Security forces Saturday warned residents of the northwestern town of Charbagh to leave the area ahead of a possible attack on militants there, officials said.

The warning was made in leaflets dropped by helicopters on the town, 20 kilometres north of Swat, the area where the army launched a full-scale operation against militants on May 8.

‘Residents were advised by the leaflets to evacuate the area,’ a senior military official told AFP on condition of anonymity.

He said ‘this has been done to avoid collateral damage ahead of a possible military operation in Charbagh town,’ a Taliban stronghold.

Commandos this month attacked Peochar valley, a stronghold of Mullah Fazlullah, who has led a Taliban uprising to enforce sharia law in Swat, but it was not immediately clear how much of the area remained under militant control.

Another security official confirmed that leaflets had been dropped in Charbagh ahead of a possible ground and air offensive.

‘There are intelligence reports about the presence of a number of important Taliban commanders in the area,’ he said.

However, he did not give further details, citing security concerns.

The official said that residents had begun leaving the Charbagh area, which has population of 20,000-25,000.

Some of the heaviest recent fighting seems to have taken place in Bahrain, in northern Swat valley, where security forces said Thursday they had killed nine militants, in fighting that left two soldiers and two civilians wounded.

Around 2.4 million people have fled the area, as soldiers struggle to wrest western Swat and two nearby districts back from the Taliban, who last month advanced to within 100 kilometres of Islamabad.

The military says more than 1,200 militants and 80 soldiers have died in the onslaught, launched in the districts of Lower Dir on April 26, Buner on April 28 and Swat on May 8, but those tolls cannot be confirmed independently.

There has been little official word on any civilian casualties during the offensive. — AFP

http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/news/pakistan/provinces/04-army-asks-charbagh-residents-to-leave-qs-09
 
And  the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, 
Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren,  ye have done it unto me.

Matthew 25:40

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Re: The “war on terror”: creating refugees one village at a time
« Reply #14 on: June 01, 2009, 08:53:56 am »
Pakistan vows to wipe out Jundullah: report
Monday, 01 Jun, 2009 | 03:04 PM PST
http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/news/world/19-pakistan-vows-to-wipe-out-jundullah-terror-group-sf-05

TEHRAN: The interior ministry of Pakistan aims to wipe out Jundullah terrorist group, an organisation that has claimed responsibility for an attack on a mosque in southeastern Iran, reports the Fars News Agency (FNA).

Pakistan’s interior ministry has presented all its information on Jundullah to the country’s intelligence services which include the ISI, MI and FIA. The ministry has also urged for the identification of group members and the immediate arrest of the ringleader Abdulmalek Rigi, according to FNA.

The report goes on to say Islamabad has ordered the group be disbanded and wiped out. The chief of the Iranian armed forces, General Hassan Firouzabadi, said Iran had located the base of the group and informed the Pakistani government of Abdulmalek Rigi’s position.

According to media reports, the group’s spokesman Abdoulrauf Rigi contacted the Pakistan office of al-Arabiya television network to report a bombing in a mosque in the Sisatn-Baluchestan province last week to claim responsibility for the attack.

The bomb blast occurred in the Iranian city of Zahedan while mourners participated in a ceremony marking the death of the daughter of the Holy Prophet (PBUH).
 
Iranian authorities have arrested and executed three men involved in the bombing. The trio was executed in Zahedan city.

So far Jundullah has claimed responsibility for a dozen terrorist operations in Iran, however according to the FNA, they have managed to escape punishment by crossing into Pakistan.

Tehran has warned Islamabad that it has the power and military means to trace and hunt down terrorist groups in Pakistan if such activity is not stopped by Pakistan.

Since the attack, Iran has closed down its border with Pakistan. 
And  the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, 
Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren,  ye have done it unto me.

Matthew 25:40

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Re: The “war on terror”: creating refugees one village at a time
« Reply #15 on: June 02, 2009, 11:55:18 am »
UN chief warns of severe crisis due to funding shortage

http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/news/pakistan/09-un-chief-warns-of-severe-crisis-due-to-funding-shortage-szh--10

UNITED NATIONS: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Monday warned of a ‘destabilising secondary crisis’ in Pakistan as the world body would be forced to cut humanitarian agencies services in the conflict region because of lack of funding by the world community.

‘The human suffering is immense’ in Pakistan and the world is witnessing one of the fastest displacements the world has seen in past 15 years, UN chief said in remarks to the 192 member states in a closed-door address to the UN General Assembly on his return from foreign trips.

While referring to the $543 million UN flash appeal for Pakistan, Mr Ban said only one fifth amount (118 million) was received and underscored the urgency for more funding for UN humanitarian work.

‘If we do not get the rest of the funds, we will have to start cutting services that will cause more distress and put the country at risk,’ Mr Ban said.

Representatives of several member states have said that Ban’s warning must be heeded by the international community and all possible help should be given to Pakistan army to defeat the insurgency in the country.
And  the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, 
Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren,  ye have done it unto me.

Matthew 25:40

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Re: The “war on terror”: creating refugees one village at a time
« Reply #16 on: June 02, 2009, 12:07:26 pm »
Huma Yusuf accuses Swat Cleric (who argued that polio drops were part of a western conspiracy to render Muslims infertile) of preventing the vaccination of IDPs now at greater risk for Polio.


IDPs: the health aspect
By Huma Yusuf
Monday, 01 Jun, 2009 | 08:01 AM PST |

IT is said that bad news comes in threes. In recent months, Pakistan has had to deal with the Taliban consolidating their stranglehold over the Frontier province.

Now, the government is trying to manage one of the largest displacements of a population the world has ever seen as over three million people have left the tribal areas and Malakand division.

What will come next? While many Pakistanis remain preoccupied with the potential breakup of the country and reports of the Taliban’s relocation to Balochistan and Sindh, the next problem we face may well be a health crisis. If immediate action is not taken, Pakistan could be plagued with a polio epidemic.

Along with Afghanistan, India and Nigeria, Pakistan is one of the four countries where polio continues to thrive. Twelve cases have been confirmed across the country this year. This number is expected to rise as Swatis fleeing the military operation in their valley spill across the country. The fact is residents of the Malakand division are extremely vulnerable to a polio outbreak.

Since October 2008, none of the target population – over 377,000 children under the age of five – in Swat has been vaccinated owing to the deteriorating security situation and military offensives. As early as September 2007, threats to health workers disrupted vaccination campaigns in about half the valley.

The trouble began when Swat-based extremist cleric Maulana Fazlullah, better known as Maulana Radio, came on air using an illegal FM transmitter to denounce polio vaccination. He argued that polio drops were part of a western conspiracy to render Muslims infertile.

Before Fazlullah’s anti-vaccination campaign gained momentum, a case of polio had not been reported in the valley since 2003. But many in the Frontier province seem to have taken his logic to heart: in January this year, 278 families in Upper Dir, including Dir town, refused to let health workers administer anti-polio medication to their children, describing the drops as un-Islamic. As a result, between January and May this year, five polio cases have been reported from across the Frontier province and part of the tribal areas.

The mass exodus resulting from the ongoing military operation presents opportunities as well as serious challenges in terms of a polio epidemic. First, the good news: as they leave the Malakand division, under-immunised children are finally accessible to health workers to administer polio drops. Camps established for internally displaced persons (IDPs) also gather populations in urgent need of polio vaccination in specific localities.

In the past few weeks, health workers affiliated with the Global Polio Eradication Initiative have established themselves at nine transit points along the routes from Malakand, Swabi and Mardan. They had successfully immunised 17,850 children with trivalent oral polio vaccine by mid-May. Mobile health teams have also gone tent to tent in 26 IDP camps, immunising almost 7,000 children last month. These efforts are baby steps that may help counter the precarious health situation created by Fazlullah’s preposterous rhetoric.

But much more is needed. Even if one child is affected, children across Pakistan remain at risk because polio spreads rapidly in populations that have not been immunised. Health workers are quick to point out that haphazard displacement trends and crowded camps make it impossible to ensure that every child under the age of five receives the vaccine. According to provincial health officials, up to 1.3 million children in the Frontier province are expected to miss vaccination owing to the mass displacement.

Moreover, given the lapse in regular vaccination in recent years, it is possible that undiagnosed children already carrying the wild polio virus are now exposing dozens more to the disease in IDP camps. Since many IDPs have scattered across Pakistan to avail of the hospitality of host families, children throughout the country are now at a higher risk of infection.

In this context, National Immunisation Days become more important than ever. One hopes that the most recent drive, which occurred on May 28-30, was able to reach the 33 million children nationwide that it was targeting. The government should investigate the thoroughness of that drive and launch another initiative if there are fears that many children have not been vaccinated.

Moreover, some of the aid pouring in can be used to establish clear systems to ensure that all children in IDP camps have been immunised. Mobile health teams can also continually man routes with heavy traffic in the coming months to ensure that IDPs – those leaving or returning to Malakand – have received anti-polio medication.

But what about those families who actively prevented their children from receiving polio drops for fear that the medication would corrupt or sterilise them? One wishes there were a vaccine to counter ideological brainwashing. In the absence of one, the government and international community will have to put health on the agenda as part of any ‘winning hearts and minds’ campaign.

Once again, community radio broadcasts (first in IDP camps and subsequently across Fata and the Frontier) featuring correct information about polio vaccination backed by local authorities such as clerics and maliksmight be the best way to forever quash Fazlullah’s nonsensical theories.

In the short term, the threat of a polio outbreak should not be used by officials as an excuse to deny IDPs shelter and support. Rather, provincial governments in Sindh, Punjab and Balochistan should reflect on the health crisis among the IDP population as a way to get in some soul-searching. The only reason potentially polio-carrying IDPs pose a threat in other parts of the country is because recent provincial vaccination efforts have not been comprehensive – and they don’t have the excuse of a perilous security situation.

For example, the latest confirmed case of polio comes from the Multan district of southern Punjab, one of the most populous in the country. In Karachi, meanwhile, 217,000 children (about nine per cent of the target population) were not immunised during campaigns in April 2009. Indeed, polio is on the rise in Sindh – with or without the IDPs (compare five cases in 2005 to 18 cases in 2008). If properly managed by the government, attempts to raise awareness and eradicate polio risk among the IDP population could, in turn, benefit the country as a whole.

It may seem premature to be worrying about a polio epidemic when IDPs barely have access to food, potable water and shelter. But Pakistan has a bad habit of worrying about the benefits of foresight only in hindsight. While making efforts to accommodate the IDPs, the government should simultaneously work towards comprehensive polio vaccination. That way, we may save ourselves another major crisis in the coming years.

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And  the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, 
Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren,  ye have done it unto me.

Matthew 25:40

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Re: The “war on terror”: creating refugees one village at a time
« Reply #17 on: June 02, 2009, 12:15:54 pm »
Threat of disease looms amdist unhygienic conditions

Saturday, 30 May, 2009 | 01:49 PM PST |

GENEVA: The UN refugee agency is pitching tents and building toilets for the families hosting an estimated 2 million Pakistanis uprooted by an offensive against the Taliban.

About 200,000 are sheltering in displacement camps and the rest have sought refuge in other villages and regions.
 
Doctors are treating people for disease, infection and mental disorders, and fear the monsoon season may bring more illness.

‘Many local families have seen their households double or triple overnight,’ UN agency spokesman Ron Redmond said on Friday. ‘The longer that situation goes on, the more difficult it becomes for ... the people who are hosting them to maintain the same generosity.’

About 5,000 ‘family tents’ to shelter up to 50,000 people were distributed this week in the Mardan and Swabi districts of the North West Frontier Province, he said.

‘You are going to start seeing these tents being erected in the gardens of houses throughout those districts where families are hosting displaced people,’ Redmond told a news briefing in Geneva, where the UN High Commissioner for Refugees is based.

It is also providing hygiene kits and latrines to households, he said, as well as repairing village water pumps and improving sanitation facilities in mosques, which have also been helping to house and care for the uprooted.

Crowded host villages could also face the threat of disease as a result of low vaccination coverage and unhygienic conditions, the World Health Organisation told the briefing.

WHO spokesman Paul Garwood said that uprooted people without proper shelter also could face added risks during the monsoon season from water-borne diseases such as dysentery.

About 30,000 of those displaced by Pakistan's conflict are estimated to have severe mental disorders as a result of the stress they have undergone, and this number could double as the fighting stretches on, Garwood said.

Doctors in the region have been treating people for acute respiratory-tract infections, diarrhoea, diabetes, high blood pressure and asthma, and have reported some outbreaks of measles among the displaced though these appear to have been brought under control, according to the WHO.

The International Committee of the Red Cross, which is working with the Pakistani Red Crescent Society, also raised concerns about people who have been unable to leave areas of Swat where fighting is continuing.

In the main Swat town of Mingora, ICRC spokesman Florian Westphal said ‘there is no running water, there is no electricity, the district hospital has closed down’.

‘We are continuing our attempts to access that area, including Mingora, as quickly as possible, security permitting.’
And  the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, 
Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren,  ye have done it unto me.

Matthew 25:40

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Re: The “war on terror”: creating refugees one village at a time
« Reply #18 on: June 02, 2009, 09:09:53 pm »
UNHCR opens two new camps for the displaced

http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/news/pakistan/provinces/09-unhcr-opens-two-new-camps-for-the-displaced-szh--01

UNITED NATIONS: The United Nations refugee agency said Tuesday it has opened two new camps in Pakistan’s north-west to house thousands of people who took advantage of the lifting of a curfew over the weekend to leave the conflict zones in the Swat Valley.

Ron Redmond, a spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), told reporters in Geneva that most of the families fled the Mingora and Char Bagh areas in Swat district to seek refuge in Mardan, Swabi and Charsadda districts of the province, according to a transcript issued at UN Headquarters in New York.’

‘To respond to this new influx, UNHCR, its partners and NWFP authorities have established two new camps in Charsadda and Peshawar districts. Sugar Mill camp, in Charsadda, received 400 families, or 2,400 individuals, yesterday and more people are expected to arrive today,’ Redmond said.

‘Some families who arrived in Sugar Mill yesterday told our teams that they had been living in their basement for a month. They said they were about to run out of food when the curfew was finally lifted last Saturday and Sunday and they were told to evacuate the area. One family said they ate spinach and bread for 25 days before they were finally able to leave their home for safety,’ he stated.

‘The displaced cited shortages of food and medicine as major problems for those who remain stranded in the conflict zone,’ Redmond added.

On Monday, the UN said the number of people displaced by the conflict in NWFP has risen above 2.5 million, and a shortage of funds could cut relief services there.

More than two million people have been driven from their homes by clashes between the Government and militants in the past month, in addition to the 400,000 already displaced in fighting last year.

Redmond said UNHCR provided relief kits for 850 families, including mats, plastic sheeting, kitchen sets, jerry cans, and blankets in the Sugar Mill camp. The local government provided tents and labour to clear the site, he said, and the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is helping to install latrines.

And  the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, 
Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren,  ye have done it unto me.

Matthew 25:40

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Re: The “war on terror”: creating refugees one village at a time
« Reply #19 on: June 02, 2009, 09:17:03 pm »
US rejects Zardari’s complaint about aid

Wednesday, 03 Jun, 2009 | 03:33 AM PST |

http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/news/world/09-us-rejects-zardaris-complaint-about-aid-szh--07

WASHINGTON: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has rejected President Asif Ali Zardari’s complaint that the United States has not delivered on its promises to help Pakistan deal with the aftermath of the Swat operation.

‘I certainly understand the anxiety of anyone in Pakistan; they have taken on this really important challenge of trying to take on the Taliban, but we’ve been providing aid,’ she said. ‘We already disbursed $110 million for the displaced people. We’ve got that out very quickly.’

In an interview to The New York Review of Books, President Zardari said that Pakistan did not have enough funds to deal with the consequences of the military operations in Swat.

‘We have no money to arm the police or fund development, give jobs or revive the economy. What are we supposed to do?’ he said.

The president had also criticised the United States for its slow response to the humanitarian crisis.

‘So I think it may be moving more quickly than perhaps the president knows,’ said Secretary Clinton while responding to Mr Zardari’s interview.

‘But there’s a lot more to be done, and we’re going to try to tee it up and get it delivered as quickly as possible,’ said the top US official in an interview to USA Today.

Richard Holbrooke, the US special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan, left for Pakistan on Tuesday to assess the situation and to accelerate international relief efforts for more than three million people displaced during the military operation.

Also on Tuesday, the State Department announced that almost 6,000 US citizens had responded to Secretary Clinton’s appeal to contribute $5 each through text-messaging.

Although the amount raised — $135,000 — was not large, the campaign does play a major role in raising awareness about the situation in Swat.

In her interview to USA Today, Secretary Clinton said that like other Americans she too was impressed by the Pakistani army’s assault on Taliban militants who had captured much of the Swat valley.

‘I am incredibly heartened by the resolve shown the Pakistani people, government and military,’ she said.

The newspaper noted that the praise marked a major change in the US attitude towards Pakistan’s efforts to combat extremists.

In April, Secretary Clinton told a congressional committee that the Pakistani government of President Zardari ‘is basically abdicating to the Taliban and to the extremists.’

Since then, Pakistani troops have attacked the Taliban throughout the region and will have cleared them from major cities and towns in a matter of days. The military also has recaptured Mingora, the Swat valley’s main urban centre.


And  the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, 
Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren,  ye have done it unto me.

Matthew 25:40

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Re: The “war on terror”: creating refugees one village at a time
« Reply #20 on: June 03, 2009, 06:33:44 am »
Anti-Taliban offensive could last months: ISPR
Wednesday, 03 Jun, 2009 | 01:52 PM PST |

http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/news/pakistan/04-anti-taliban-offensive-in-malakand-could-last-months-qs-09

MINGORA: The military offensive to expel the Taliban from Pakistan's Swat Valley could take another two months to complete, and troops may have to stay for a year to prevent militants from retaking control, military commanders said Wednesday.

The armed forces have secured control over several key towns during the month-old campaign in the northwestern region, but the fighting has uprooted some 2.4 million people from their homes.

Army spokesman Major General Athar Abbas told reporters on a military-organised tour of Mingora town that it could take another two months of fighting to root the militants from all of their hideouts in Swat and surrounding areas.

He cautioned, though, that the two month timetable was ‘a rough estimate.’

A defence ministry official said Sunday the militants were only days away from being defeated across three northwest districts, including Swat, but the army had distanced itself from those comments, saying there was no timeframe.

The government has said that more than 1,300 militants and around 85 soldiers have died since the military launched a major air and ground assault in late April.

Earlier, Major General Ijaz Awan, a senior commander in the eight-day battle for Mingora, said the military is gearing up for a fight in nearby Kabal town where top Taliban leaders are suspected of being holed up.

‘We have bottled them up very well, hopefully this will be a decisive battle here’ in Kabal, said Awan. ‘Their deaths are vital to killing their myth.’

The battle for Swat was launched in late April after the militants abandoned a peace deal with the government that gave them control of the region.

During Wednesday's military tour through parts of Mingora, an AP reporter saw soldiers stationed on streets throughout the town but there was little sign of civilian life among the 40,000 residents remaining in the city.

At a crossroads dubbed ‘bloody intersection’ by locals because the Taliban would leave bloodied bodies of victims there as warning to others, there were signs of a tough battle. Chunks of one multi-story building were blown away, and security gates of at least one storefront were torn off. Broken glass and bricks lay all around.

Awan said the military hoped about 2,500 police would return to Mingora by June's end to take over security, but the army would probably have to stay in the region for at least another year to fully secure it.

Up to 2.4 million people have fled their homes since the offensive began in the districts of Lower Dir on April 26, Buner on April 28 and Swat on May 8.

Power, water and gas remain cut in Mingora, the largest in the Swat region, and food is short. Officials are discouraging refugees from returning home yet.

The displaced can be brought back tomorrow, Awan said.

Even if the guns have fallen silent in the city, which the military declared Saturday had returned to government control, residents who remain have told AFP there is no electricity, gas and running water in the town.

‘By June 17, these services will be put right. Then the gradual, systematic return of IDPs (internally displaced persons) will begin,’ Awan told reporters. — AFP/AP
And  the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, 
Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren,  ye have done it unto me.

Matthew 25:40

Offline Satyagraha

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Re: The “war on terror”: creating refugees one village at a time
« Reply #21 on: June 04, 2009, 07:30:42 pm »
Funds for IDPs running short, warns UN
By Khawar Ghumman
Friday, 05 Jun, 2009 | 05:42 AM PST

ISLAMABAD: The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Pakistan has warned that humanitarian efforts for internally displaced people would have to be scaled down if the international community does not come up with immediate and generous financial assistance.

The office had appealed for $543 million to meet urgent needs of the displaced people.

But until today it had received only 22 per cent of the amount and the humanitarian efforts would be facing severe problems in a couple of weeks if more money was not received,’ head of the OCHA in Pakistan, Manuel Bessler, said at a press conference organised by the United Nations Information Centre on Thursday.

Mr Bessler said the OCHA was actively pursuing countries through the office of the UN secretary general for timely delivery of financial assistance.

On the eve of an international donor conference organised by the government of Pakistan for rehabilitation of the IDPs, the OCHA appealed for funds to sustain ongoing humanitarian efforts in the NWFP.

The platform of the EU conference will also be used for rapid and generous response for sustaining humanitarian efforts for the people uprooted from their areas.

Kilian Kleinschmidt of the UNHCR said that registration process was progressing with a few exceptions where some IDPs tried to register themselves more than once.

Citing one incident, he said a woman had registered herself 14 times at different places.

However, with the help of Nadra, such cases could be easily detected, he said.

‘We are running 21 organised camps for IDPs to look after around 200,000 people, which are being managed quite well. And 90 per cent of the displaced are staying with their relatives in the adjoining areas,’ Mr Kilian said.

He said that unorganised and spontaneous camps where around 100,000 people had taken refuge were a matter of concern.

‘We are very much concerned about their safety and security,’ he said.

Wolfgang Herbinger of the World Food Programme said: ‘We have set up a food bank between Peshawar and Nowshehra where people can deposit food for IDPs.

Besides, we have set up 25 distribution centres from where affected people could collect food.’

Daniel Baker of the UNFPA said their main concern was 69,000 pregnant women. About 6,000 of them would be giving birth in coming month and 900 would need pregnancy related surgeries.

With the help of the ministry of population welfare, 15 mobile units have been set up to meet needs related to reproductive health of women.

However, he said there was shortage of funds to sustain the efforts.

And  the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, 
Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren,  ye have done it unto me.

Matthew 25:40

Offline Satyagraha

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Re: The “war on terror”: creating refugees one village at a time
« Reply #22 on: June 04, 2009, 07:41:15 pm »
UN warns against disease outbreak in IDP camps
Thursday, 04 Jun, 2009 | 06:07 PM PST |

http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/news/pakistan/14-un-warns-against-disease-outbreak-in-idp-camps-zj-01

ISLAMABAD: UN officials warned Thursday against potential disease outbreaks among two million Pakistanis displaced by an army offensive against the Taliban, reiterating that aid money was running out.

The UN has appealed for 543 million dollars to help the displaced, but Daniel Baker, from the UN Population Fund, said the health sector had so far received only 11 per cent of the requested amount.

‘With the monsoon season fast approaching, concerns are growing about an increase in avoidable sickness and death due to disease outbreaks, such as acute respiratory infection, acute diarrhoea, malaria and meningitis.’ He added: ‘69,300 women are pregnant. Nearly six thousand women displaced in the conflict are expected to give birth within the next month.’

UN officials said donors had only pledged 22 per cent of the total money needed for food, medicine, shelter and other assistance.

‘More and more people are coming in the camps. Their hosts are running out of money — we will face very severe problems if we have no sufficient funds,’ said Manuel Bessler, head of the UN humanitarian agency in Pakistan.

‘Some sectors have already indicated that supplies such as food and essential medicines may not be sustainable beyond early July unless the international community rapidly and generously responds to these acute needs.’

The military launched its operation in the districts of Lower Dir on April 26, Buner on April 28 and Swat on May 8, after Taliban fighters advanced to within 100 kilometers of Islamabad.

Pakistan has called for one billion dollars to help the uprooted civilians rebuild their lives, with most living in overcrowded homes of friends and relatives, or crammed into government-run camps.

‘The humanitarian community is facing an unprecedented financial crisis,’ the UN’s World Health Organisation said in a statement.
And  the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, 
Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren,  ye have done it unto me.

Matthew 25:40

luckee1

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Re: The “war on terror”: creating refugees one village at a time
« Reply #23 on: June 04, 2009, 07:43:40 pm »
No, don't give them food, shelter and safety!  What could we be thinking!?
They need the latest shots!  ???

 

Offline Satyagraha

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Re: The “war on terror”: creating refugees one village at a time
« Reply #24 on: June 04, 2009, 09:47:25 pm »
6000 IDP women to give birth in June
Thursday, 04 Jun, 2009 | 07:04 PM PST |

http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/news/pakistan/provinces/14-6000-idp-women-to-give-birth-in-june-zj-02

ISLAMABAD: United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has said about 6000 pregnant women of the Internally Displaced Persons will give birth to babies during the same month.
Addressing a press conference here on Thursday Representative of UNFPA, Daniel Baker informed that over 6000 women would birth to babies during the running month.

He added that as many as 900 women may need lifesaving surgery for pregnancy related complications.

He said UNFPA in coordination with the government of Pakistan was providing reproductive health services to IDPs. Five clinics out of six could provide basic emergency obstetric care and one referral hospital was offering comprehensive services including Caesarean sections in NWFP, he informed.

Each of the delivery service points has a delivery room and an outpatient clinic offering reproductive health services including antenatal and postnatal examinations and family planning, he said. He further said that these facilities were staffed with female medical personnel including gynecologists, women medical officers, lady health visitors and skilled birth attendants.

He maintained that UNFPA was planning to extend similar support to more service delivery points in the coming weeks. In addition, he said the UNFPA has also started to provide communities with clean-delivery kits and births outside of health centres and essential medical instruments adding so UNFPA has provided 8,000 kits.

He also expressed his concerns over the lack of funds saying in health cluster alone 37 million dollars were needed but only 11 per cent has been received so far. –PPI


And  the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, 
Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren,  ye have done it unto me.

Matthew 25:40

Offline Satyagraha

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Re: The “war on terror”: creating refugees one village at a time
« Reply #25 on: June 05, 2009, 07:13:58 pm »
Shahi says operation Rah-e-Rast anti-Pakhtun
 Updated at: 0338 PST,  Saturday, June 06, 2009
 KARACHI: The president Awami National Party (ANP) Sindh Shahi Syed has termed the ongoing military offensive Rah-e-Rast against Taliban in Swat and Malakand Division as anti-Pakhtun as our community is suffering more than militants.

He said Pakhtuns must not be kept in relief camps as internally displaced persons (IDPs) and helpless people instead they should be rehabilitated in the earliest possible time.

In a statement released from ANP Sindh here on Friday, it is asserted by Shahi Syed that lip services rather than practical measures from government have been multiplying the miseries of (IDPs).

“The operation has tuned the catastrophe more for the Swat and Buner people instead of dismantling the networks of terrorists”, he added.
http://www.geo.tv/6-6-2009/43589.htm
And  the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, 
Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren,  ye have done it unto me.

Matthew 25:40

Offline Satyagraha

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Re: The “war on terror”: creating refugees one village at a time
« Reply #26 on: June 07, 2009, 02:16:26 pm »
WFP to provide food to 2.6 Mln IDPs in Pakistan
By Sheeraz Aslam 'Pakistan Times' Staff Correspondent
http://www.pakistantimes.net/pt/detail.php?newsId=1347

ISLAMABAD: World Food Programme (WFP) has planned to provide food assistance to 2.6 million internally displaced persons during the months of July and August. Country Representative WFP Wolfgang Herbinger said the number of IDPs staying in camps represents less than 20% of all registered IDPs.

While WFP’s food assistance covers camps, particular focus is placed on reaching the majority of IDPs residing in host communities, who are themselves facing economic, social and environmental pressure, he said and added that until May 30, WFP had distributed monthly food rations to over 2.4 million registered IDPs. It is expected that by the end of the month, 2.6 million registered IDPs will have been reached.

A verification exercise by the National Database Registration Authority will be completed by June 3. It is expected that the number of registered IDPs now standing at 3.3 million will come down, he added. He said in May, monthly family rations consisted of 80 kg wheat, 8 kg pulses and 5 litres of vegetable oil. As of June, sugar, tea and salt will also be distributed. Nearly 40,000 metric tons of commodities will have been distributed in May alone at a cost of US$ 30 million.

WFP’s distribution capacity has now risen to 150,000 IDPs per day. The number of distribution hubs has been increased to 25, the country representative said adding utilizing all in-country stocks, borrowings and anticipated arrivals, basic food needs can be met for 2.6 million IDPs for 1 to 2 months.

The WFP official said the government’s Emergency Response Unit and WFP have established a Food Bank and Trust Fund Accounts as the main channels to collect local in-kind and cash contributions. The resource shortfall for food against the Humanitarian Response Plan for 1.5 million IDPs stands at 38% of the requested US$ 161 million.

However, taking into account the current and anticipated number of IDPs requiring food assistance, the revised requirements are estimated at US$ 280 million, he added. He said factoring in all confirmed and unconfirmed pledges, there remains a funding gap of 57%. WFP urges donors to confirm their pledges and come forward with new donations now to avoid pipeline breaks.

In support of the humanitarian community, WFP has revised its logistics special operation to facilitate the delivery of various relief items. At a cost of US$ 6 million, the project has four basic components: the establishment of a humanitarian logistics base; the logistical organization of the government relief banks; transport services between the main logistics base; the relief banks and the distribution hubs, and coordination services of the logistics cluster.

The majority of these IDPs are residing with host communities while less than 20% live in camps. WFP responded by setting up over 25 humanitarian hubs as well as food distribution points in camps to provide food assistance to the millions of displaced people. WFP’s assistance is focused on the most food-insecure people: the poorest-of-the-poor living in marginal, remote areas where socio-economic indicators are far worse than in the rest of the country. 

One WFP operation is specially focused on addressing food insecurity in the tribal FATA region. A WFP emergency operation in response to high food prices complements government efforts in 20 districts identified as most affected and vulnerable, Herbinger added. The WFP said additional priority districts in Balochistan, North-West Frontier Province and parts of Sindh are covered under WFP’s country programme.

WFP aims to improve access to food in ways that enable vulnerable households, especially women and girls to take advantage of development opportunities. Operations include school feeding, mother and child nutrition and socio-economic development programmes. Goals include increased enrolment rates for girls, increased access to health services and increased ability of rural women to create and preserve physical assets, the country representative said.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Pakistan: Food Lifeline Provides Stability To Displaced

http://www.wfp.org/stories/pakistan-wfp-produces-innovative-solutions-amid-idp-crisis

Against the backdrop of the major humanitarian crisis unfolding in Pakistan’s North West Frontier Province, WFP is leading the United Nations and humanitarian agencies in implementing an innovative approach to delivering food, shelter and vitally needed relief to families displaced by fighting.

text by Paul Risley/video by Amjad Jamal

ISLAMABAD -- WFP is streaming food to more than 2 million hungry people displaced by fighting between government forces and Taliban militants in northern Pakistan and through its innovative approach is helping bring stability to the region. Read news release

"In a situation as volatile as this, we want to do all we can to provide life-saving food assistance, with the hope of cooling the situation," said WFP Executive Director Josette Sheeran.

There has been a massive displacement of people in the wake of recent fighting in northern Pakistan. WFP is building its relief response around a system of  humanitarian ‘hubs’ and host communities.

Safe, protected areas

As IDP camps near Peshawar and elsewhere have rapidly become overcrowded, WFP has taken steps in cooperation with the Government and the UN refugee agency UNHCR to promote alternative IDP settlements in safe and protected areas. In these areas displaced people are given accommodation in host communities.

In or near these communities humanitarian hubs are set up to answer all the key needs of IDPs who reach them.  Once at a hub, IDPs can register for assistance, receive food and critically needed shelter and cooking utensils, and be directed into available shelter within the local communities. There are 35 of these hubs so far.

IDPs outside camps


“Humanitarian hubs are effective in assisting the many IDPs outside the camps who are more difficult to reach,“ said WFP Country Representative Wolfgang Herbinger. “Not only is WFP food provided to hungry people, but UNHCR and UNICEF and other relief organisations are able to hand out kits with shelter items, cooking utensils and clothing for families.”

To meet the needs of IDPs in the immediate crisis, WFP is dispatching record amounts of wheat flour, rice, sugar and pulses for distribution through the humanitarian hubs and in the IDP camps.

Food bank in Peshawar

Meanwhile, a “food bank” has been set up in Peshawar to accept the many in-kind contributions of food from Pakistani citizens, companies and government authorities on behalf of the unprecedented numbers of displaced persons.

Despite the availability locally of food for WFP to purchase, it is clear that WFP will need to secure even larger amounts of food assistance – the Government of Pakistan has already requested WFP to provide at least six months of food rations for returning IDPs – when and if conditions allow for their safe return.


And  the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, 
Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren,  ye have done it unto me.

Matthew 25:40

Offline Satyagraha

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Re: The “war on terror”: creating refugees one village at a time
« Reply #27 on: June 08, 2009, 05:46:11 am »
Cholera cases surface in Mardan camp
By Ashfaq Yusufzai
Monday, 08 Jun, 2009 | 03:28 AM PST

http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/news/pakistan/provinces/13+cholera+cases+surface+in+mardan+camp-za-04

PESHAWAR: The Pakistan Paediatric Association (PPA) has called for provision of clean drinking water to the internally displaced persons (IDPs) after confirmation of two cholera cases in Mardan on Sunday.

‘Children desperately need clean drinking water at the relief camps to stop spread of cholera,’ Prof Abdul Hameed, central president of the PPA, told Dawn at the District Headquarters Hospital Mardan, where the association had established a 20-bed children ward for the displaced children.

He said that both affected children were sisters from Swat staying at a relief camp with their mother. Jamila, 9, was brought to the children ward at the DHQ hospital on June 3 and was sent back by doctor after giving her symptomatic treatment of acute watery diarrhoea (AWD).

However, her condition deteriorated and she was brought back to the ward on June 4, but this time along with her 11-year-old sister.

The confirmation of the cholera cases should serve as alarm for the government to take stock of the situation before it could snowball into a major problem, he said. The PPA has also established a children ward at the Shah Mansoor Medical Complex in Swabi to provide specialised treatment to the critically-ill children.

As of Saturday, 1,424 patients had been examined at both wards for paediatricians; 360 patients were admitted at the health units while rest were prescribed drugs. He said that there were 995 AWD patients, 147 acute respiratory infections, 121 dysentery, 24 malaria, three meningitis and 30 patients were suffering from other diseases.

Dr Hameed said that most of the children used contaminated water due to which water-borne diseases were affecting them. ‘If immediately steps weren’t taken many displaced children could suffer in the days to come,’ he added.

He said that children coming to the hospital were being administered vaccines. He said that they had employed health staff from the violence-hit Swat.

‘We have also established OPDs in Swabi and Mardan relief camps with the financial assistance of the World Health Organisation and the Unicef from where complicated patients were referred to the wards for specialised treatment including the Khyber Teaching Hospital, We plan to establish another ward for tertiary care at the Mardan Medical Complex,’ he said.


And  the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, 
Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren,  ye have done it unto me.

Matthew 25:40

Offline Satyagraha

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Re: The “war on terror”: creating refugees one village at a time
« Reply #28 on: June 09, 2009, 05:40:57 am »
    http://www.crisisgroup.org/home/index.cfm?id=6129&l=1

    IPakistan’s IDP Crisis: Challenges and Opportunities
    Asia Briefing N°93
    3 June 2009

    OVERVIEW

    In the wake of a conceptually flawed peace agreement, the Taliban takeover of large parts of Malakand division, subsequent military action in the area, almost three million internally displaced persons (IDPs) have fled to camps, homes, schools and other places of shelter across Northwest Frontier Province (NWFP). The challenge for the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP)-led government and international actors is to make relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts responsive to needs and empower local communities in Malakand Division. Failure to do so will reverse any gains on the battlefield and boost radical Islamist groups.

    The military’s use of heavy force in the ongoing operations, failure to address the full cost to civilians and refusal to allow full civilian and humanitarian access to the conflict zones has already been counterproductive. The public, particularly those directly affected, is increasingly mistrustful of a military that has, in the past, swung between short-sighted appeasement deals with militants and the use of haphazard force. While there is still broad public and political support for moving against the Taliban, it could erode if civilian casualties are high and the response to IDPs’ needs is inadequate. Indeed, it will not be long before the IDPs demand greater accountability from those responsible for their displacement and assurances of a viable return.

    Almost four years after they responded poorly to the October 2005 earthquake in NWFP and Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK), overly centralised state relief organs remain ill-equipped to deal with large-scale humanitarian crises. Likewise, despite the transition to civilian rule in February 2008, the military continues to dominate key institutions, further undermining civilian capacity. Relief and reconstruction efforts must ultimately reestablish and strengthen the link between Malakand’s citizens and the state, severed by rising militancy and the military-devised accord between the Awami National Party (ANP)-led NWFP government and the Taliban-linked Tehrik-e-Nifaz-e-Shariat-e-Moham­madi (TNSM) to impose Sharia (Islamic law) in the Malakand area, through the Nizam-e-Adl Regulation, which President Asif Ali Zardari signed on 13 April 2009.

    As they did in the aftermath of the 2005 earthquake, religious extremist groups, while opposing the military campaign, are exploiting relief efforts to advance their agenda. Communities displaced by a badly planned war may be especially vulnerable to jihadi indoctrination. The crisis, however, also presents an opportunity to win hearts and minds of millions of Pakistanis in NWFP, and more specifically in Malakand Division, who have suffered at the hands of the Taliban. Many of them fled the area even before the current operations began because of Taliban abuses, including murder and rape.

    Mounting opposition from the religious lobby may give the military an opening to again enter into a compromise with the militants, as it has in earlier campaigns. The federal and provincial governments must resist any such efforts and assert civilian control over counter-insurgency policy, relief and reconstruction. Instituting civilian oversight and scrutiny is vital to retaining popular support for the struggle against violent extremism. The international community should help build civilian capacity to respond to the humanitarian crisis and also counsel the military against negotiating another deal that would again allow religious extremists more space to recruit and spread Taliban control.

    The Pakistan government should:

    • devise a blueprint for reconstruction efforts, including revitalising war-shattered agricultural and tourism sectors;
      develop mechanisms that will enable IDP communities to hold officials accountable for the distribution of assistance;
    • prohibit jihadi groups banned under the Anti-Terrorism Law, including those operating under changed names, from participating in relief efforts;
    • prioritise police training and other mechanisms to enhance the capacity of civilian law enforcement agencies to maintain security after the military operation ends and bring militant and local criminal networks and allied serving or retired district officials to justice;
    • rescind immediately the Nizam-e-Adl Regulation 2009, reaffirm the jurisdication of Malakand’s civil courts, the Peshawar High Court and the Supreme Court and abolish the Frontier Crimes Regulations and the Nizam-e-Adl 1999; and
    • build on political and public support for confronting militancy in NWFP by implementing without delay long-term political and constitutional reforms in the Provincially Administered Tribal Areas (PATA), of which Malakand is a part, as well as in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), so as to incorporate their districts and tribal agencies, respectively, into NWFP, with full provincial rights.

    The international community should:

    • urge a humanitarian pause in fighting to allow much-needed assistance to non-combatants in conflict zones, to permit them to flee and to account for civilian casualties, with the timeframe dependent on assessment of needs and available logistical and other resources and material support, as determined by the provincial government and international and local humanitarian agencies;
    • ensure that relief and reconstruction are civilian-led and empower displaced communities to determine their own needs and priorities;
    • prioritise the relief and rehabilitation of IDPs, particularly those living outside government camps, through cash transfer programs that provide income support, payment of school tuition and paid vocational training;
    • support Pakistan civilian-led plans for return of IDPs to their communities with reconstruction programs that incorporate support for the provincial government and help build the capacity of civilian police and advance justice reform with new training, equipment and mentors; and
    • encourage long-term political and constitutional reforms in PATA and FATA through support for comprehensive governance, stabilisation and rural development programs.

    ======================================

    Who is the International Crisis Group?
    Lots of former UN, US Govt people, royals and assorted aristocrats, and lots of Bilderbergers.

    Read about their mission here: http://www.crisisgroup.org/home/index.cfm?id=208&l=1

    Do you believe they want Peace???

    The members include:

    Crisis Group's Board
    Lord (Christopher) Patten
    Co-Chair, Crisis Group
    Former European Commissioner for External Relations, Governor of Hong Kong and UK Cabinet Minister
    Chancellor of Oxford University


    Thomas R Pickering
    Co-Chair, Crisis Group
    Former U.S. Ambassador to the UN, Russia, India, Israel, Jordan, El Salvador and Nigeria
    Vice Chairman of Hills & Company

    Gareth Evans
    President & CEO
    Former Foreign Minister of Australia
     

    Executive Committee
    Morton Abramowitzl
    Former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State and Ambassador to Turkey

    Emma Bonino*
    Former Italian Minister of International Trade and European Affairs and European Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid

    Cheryl Carolus
    Former South African High Commissioner to the UK and Secretary General of the ANC

    Maria Livanos Cattaui
    Member of the Board, Petroplus, Switzerland

    Yoichi Funabashi
    Editor-in-Chief & Columnist, The Asahi Shimbun, Japan

    Frank Giustra
    Chairman, Endeavour Financial, Canada

    Stephen Solarz
    Former U.S. Congressman


    George Soros
    Chairman, Open Society Institute


    Pär Stenbäck
    Former Foreign Minister of Finland

    Adnan Abu-Odeh
    Former Political Adviser to King Abdullah II and to King Hussein, and Jordan Permanent Representative to the UN


    Kenneth Adelman
    Former U.S. Ambassador and Director of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency


    HRH Turki al-Faisal
    Former Ambassador of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to the U.S.


    Kofi Annan
    Former Secretary-General of the United Nations; Nobel Peace Prize (2001)

    Louise Arbour
    Former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and Chief Prosecutor for the International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and for Rwanda

    Richard Armitage
    Former U.S. Deputy Secretary of State


    Lord (Paddy) Ashdown
    Former High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina; Former Leader of the Liberal Democrats, UK


    Shlomo Ben-Ami
    Former Foreign Minister of Israel

    Lakhdar Brahimi
    Former Special Adviser to the UN Secretary-General and Foreign Minister of Algeria

    Zbigniew Brzezinski
    Former U.S. National Security Advisor to the President


    Kim Campbell
    Former Prime Minister of Canada

    Naresh Chandra
    Former Indian Cabinet Secretary and Ambassador to the U.S.

    Joaquim Alberto Chissano
    Former President of Mozambique

    Wesley Clark
    Former NATO Supreme Allied Commander, Europe


    Pat Cox
    Former President of the European Parliament

    Uffe Ellemann-Jensen
    Former Foreign Minister of Denmark

    Mark Eyskens
    Former Prime Minister of Belgium

    Joschka Fischer
    Former Foreign Minister of Germany

    Yegor Gaidar
    Former Prime Minister of Russia

    Carla Hills
    Former U.S. Secretary of Housing and U.S. Trade Representative

    Lena Hjelm-Wallén
    Former Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister of Sweden

    Swanee Hunt
    Former U.S. Ambassador to Austria; Chair, The Initiative for Inclusive Security and President, Hunt Alternatives Fund

    Anwar Ibrahim
    Former Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia

    Mo Ibrahim
    Founder and Chair, Mo Ibrahim Foundation; Founder, Celtel International

    Asma Jahangir
    UN Special Rapporteur on the Freedom of Religion or Belief; Chairperson, Human Rights Commission of Pakistan


    James V. Kimsey
    Founder and Chairman Emeritus of America Online, Inc. (AOL)

    Wim Kok
    Former Prime Minister of the Netherlands

    Aleksander Kwaśniewski
    Former President of Poland

    Ricardo Lagos
    Former President of Chile

    Joanne Leedom-Ackerman
    Former International Secretary of International PEN; Novelist and journalist, U.S.

    Jessica Tuchman Mathews
    President, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, U.S.


    Moisés Naím
    Former Venezuelan Minister of Trade and Industry; Editor-in-Chief, Foreign Policy

    Ayo Obe
    Chair, Board of Trustees, Goree Institute, Senegal

    Christine Ockrent
    CEO, French TV and Radio World Services

    Victor Pinchuk
    Founder of EastOne & Victor Pinchuk Foundation

    Fidel V. Ramos
    Former President of Philippines

    Güler Sabancı
    Chairperson, Sabancı Holding, Turkey

    Ghassan Salamé
    Former Lebanese Minister of Culture of Lebanon; Professor, Sciences Po, Paris

    Thorvald Stoltenberg
    Former Foreign Minister of Norway

    Ernesto Zedillo
    Former President of Mexico; Director, Yale Center for the Study of Globalization

    Chairmen Emeritus
    Martti Ahtisaari
    Former President of Finland

    George J. Mitchell
    Former U.S. Senate Majority Leader


    And  the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, 
    Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren,  ye have done it unto me.

    Matthew 25:40

    Offline Satyagraha

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    Re: The “war on terror”: creating refugees one village at a time
    « Reply #29 on: June 09, 2009, 05:52:39 am »
    Aid agencies say security, services needed before Pakistan's displaced return
    http://www.alertnet.org/db/an_art/55867/2009/05/8-114517-1.htm
    08 Jun 2009 11:47:00 GMT

    Written by: Nita Bhalla

    NEW DELHI - Government plans to allow hundreds of thousands of war-displaced Pakistanis to return home early could compromise their security and leave them without access to basic services, aid workers warn.

    Around 2.5 million people have fled their homes in the scenic Swat valley and other parts of the north due to fighting between the Pakistani army and Taliban militants - 2 million of these since a fresh offensive to expel the insurgents was launched at the end of April.

    Swat's former residents - living in camps without privacy or in host communities, where as many as 25 people share one room - are clinging to the hope of going home soon, now that the army says it has cleared militants from much of the region.

    Government forces recaptured Mingora, the main town in Swat, over a week ago and army commanders say that once water and electricity services are restored, the displaced could start to return as early as June 17.

    Aid workers warn, however, that they face harsh and potentially dangerous conditions.

    "We can see that the humanitarian situation needs security, resumption of basic services, establishment of electricity and the clearing of unexploded ordnance," said Manuel Bessler, head of the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Pakistan, adding that it is the government's responsibility to decide which areas are safe for civilian return.

    As the region has been under Taliban control, analysts say there is an essential need to build a civilian police force and judicial system to ensure the safety of local communities.

    "The Pakistan government should prioritise police training and other mechanisms to enhance the capacity of civilian law enforcement agencies to maintain security after the military operation ends," recommends the Brussels-based International Crisis Group (ICG) in a report. (see above post for this sinister group of Bilderberger types.)

    Landmines and other unexploded weapons pose an additional security risk, with U.N. assessment teams that have visited the conflict zone reporting that they are scattered across wide areas.

    While there are plans to launch mine awareness programs for civilians before they return, aid workers say public areas - especially around schools, hospitals and markets - must be cleared of weaponry urgently.

    RESURGENT THREAT?

    The operation against hardline militants, which began in early May, now shows signs of widening to Taliban strongholds along the Afghan border. Meanwhile, there are fears the Taliban could regroup and return to areas the army has "cleared" - as occurred in Swat following an offensive in late 2007 - carrying out revenge executions on returning civilians.

    Aid workers say there appears to be no coherent mechanism in place for verifying that areas are safe or that people will not put themselves at risk of harm or further displacement if they return.

    "One of our key concerns is to know exactly what is meant by the government or army declaring an area 'safe' or 'clear'," said Michael Young, country representative for the International Rescue Committee.

    "We've had examples in the past where return has been encouraged to areas in Bajaur agency, where many returnees remain at risk from the Taliban. Some fought the Taliban in the past, so they have a real fear of continued persecution. Unless the area really is secure, returnees may be putting themselves at risk of harm or renewed flight," Young said.

    The army has promised to remain in places like Mingora for at least a year to help support a community police force being mobilised by the government.

    It is clearly worried that insurgents could reappear, aid workers say. For example, villagers who have gone back to "cleared" parts of Buner have been told not to grow crops like maize as they provide excellent cover for militants.

    NO BASIC SERVICES

    Besides security threats, residents who go home in the short term face life without essential services. The conflict has disrupted electricity, water and telecommunications in towns and villages in Swat, Buner and Lower Dir districts.

    Hospitals and clinics are no longer functioning due to a lack of staff and medicines. Schools and colleges are closed, and markets are not trading. Fields lie fallow as many farmers fled in the middle of harvesting their wheat, maize and tobacco crops, losing their incomes for the entire year.

    There is concern the authorities may be pushing people to go back too early, fearing that prolonged displacement could erode broad public and political support for the military offensive. Relief groups say those who have fled should only return when they feel safe and able to sustain themselves.

    "In some areas, we are already seeing the head of the family going back home for one or two days to check on their property and harvest their crops," said one aid worker. "I think this is what will continue to happen...until they feel confident to take the whole family back and resume their lives."

    Aid agencies say programmes aimed at restoring livelihoods need to be planned now before people start to return. The ICG report urges the government to devise a blueprint for longer-term reconstruction, focusing on the area's once vibrant agricultural, horticultural and tourism sectors, which have been severely affected by years of militancy and armed conflict.

    But displaced communities complain they are getting mixed messages from different government bodies on plans for their return.

    "There has to be a clear pronunciation of what people will actually have as part of their return and reintegration package," said Kilian Kleinschmidt, assistant representative for the U.N. refugee agency (UNHCR) in Pakistan. "That hasn't been really spelled out yet ... Returnees must know what awaits them back home."

    Reuters AlertNet is not responsible for the content of external websites.


    And  the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, 
    Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren,  ye have done it unto me.

    Matthew 25:40

    Offline Satyagraha

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    Re: The “war on terror”: creating refugees one village at a time
    « Reply #30 on: June 10, 2009, 05:50:39 am »
    IDPs’ disillusionment
    Dawn Editorial
    Wednesday, 10 Jun, 2009 | 08:11 AM PST |
    http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/news/pakistan/provinces/16-idps-disillusionment-hs-03

    While the Pakistan military’s latest offensive against the TTP and other militant outfits has achieved some success, gains are also being made on the ideological front. The past few months have seen the tide of public opinion turn — from a fearful or confused conciliatory attitude towards these groups to what the US-based New Yorker magazine recently called an ‘antipathy towards the Taliban’.

    Reports suggest that this change of heart is true not only of the people displaced internally by the conflict, and therefore most directly affected, but also of residents in areas as yet unscarred by the battle. Deeply disturbing, however, is the fact that this antipathy is accompanied by a general lack of faith in the commitment of the government and the army to the long-term battle: the defeat of the Taliban and their ilk for good and the extension of the state’s writ and protection to all areas. The New Yorker magazine reporter pointed out that ‘a number of refugees and residents of Mardan questioned how serious it [the government] was about cleaning out the militants’.

    This is worrying, for a population disillusioned with the government can become part of anti-state or militant groups in the future. The more than two million people displaced by the fighting are most at risk, for the state has done little to mitigate their suffering. Even when it is safe to return, these people will face an uncertain future in the battle-ravaged areas where the civic and administrative infrastructure is in a shambles, and where medical and educational facilities will have to be rebuilt from scratch. Refugees can be easily radicalised.

    The failure of the state and its institutions to protect, accommodate and later rehabilitate them increases the anger of millions, as does the rejection of their presence in Sindh and Punjab by political groups. This can well create recruiting space for militant outfits. For long-term success in the battle against the Taliban and other anti-state forces, it is essential that the military battle is followed by tangible steps towards civic development and economic uplift of devastated zones and the rehabilitation of the displaced.
    And  the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, 
    Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren,  ye have done it unto me.

    Matthew 25:40

    Offline Satyagraha

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    Re: The “war on terror”: creating refugees one village at a time
    « Reply #31 on: June 10, 2009, 06:00:22 am »
    UNHCR says 1.9 million displaced people verified
    By Khawar Ghumman
    Wednesday, 10 Jun, 2009 | 06:01 AM PST

    http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/news/pakistan/provinces/09-unhcr-says-19-million-displaced-people-verified-szh--11

    ISLAMABAD: The government has so far verified the registration of 1.9 million (or 268,674 families) internally displaced people, earlier registered under a fast-track process, according to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR).

    A press release issued by the UN agency on Tuesday said the number included people displaced from Swat, Buner, Shangla, Malakand and Lower Dir after the military operation launched in April and also those displaced from Bajaur and Mohmand agencies after last year’s operation.

    Only 10 per cent of the displaced people are staying in camps, while the rest of them are staying elsewhere.

    In Yar Hussain camp, 1,170 people were registered on Monday.

    ‘The UNHCR wants to scale up its assistance to people staying outside of camps, and is procuring more relief items. We urgently need funds to buy more supplies.
    We still require $67 million for our operation in Pakistan until the end of the year. This figure may need to be revised if the number of displaced people rises,’ it said.

    The commission is looking for additional land because people who were previously living with their relatives or in government buildings are now arriving in camps.

    Some new arrivals said they did not want to be a burden on host families with limited financial resources, while others said they had been living in schools in villages where they received little help.

    Two new camps which opened last week are almost full. One of them, near a sugar mill in Charsadda, now hosts 2,800 people, and the other, in Larama in Peshawar, is hosting 4,800 people.

    People are now being directed to the Jalozai camp, in Nowshera, which now hosts around 97,000 displaced people, including 52,000 who arrived since early May.

    Others are being directed to Yar Hussain camp, in Swabi, which hosts 29,000 people. These camps are being expanded.

    ‘We are discussing the possibility of setting up a new camp in Hazara district. More than 235,000 people are now staying in 21 organised camps in the NWFP, according to local authorities,’ the statement said.

    The number included more than 148,000 people displaced during the past five weeks. About 100,000 others are staying in schools and other government buildings.

    With the lifting of curfew on Tuesday in Chakdara, more people might opt to go to safe areas.

    The UNHCR, in partnership with the Sarhad Rural Support Programme, will start distributing relief goods to diplaced people staying in schools, host families and rented accommodations in Charssada and Nowshera districts.

    And  the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, 
    Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren,  ye have done it unto me.

    Matthew 25:40

    Offline Satyagraha

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    Re: The “war on terror”: creating refugees one village at a time
    « Reply #32 on: June 10, 2009, 07:41:42 am »
    Customs affecting displaced women’s treatment
    By Zaheer Mahmood Siddiqui
    Wednesday, 10 Jun, 2009 | 02:23 AM PST
    http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/news/pakistan/provinces/12-customs-affecting-displaced-womens-treatment--bi-04

    LAHORE: Women among the internally displaced persons (IDPs) are in a dire need of medical help by female health professionals as their customs and traditions bar them from even talking to a ‘namehram’ (stranger).

    'At the Shaikh Shahzad and Shaikh Yaseen camps for the IDPs, there are thousands of expectant women, and their deliveries are due in the coming months,’ said Assistant Professor Dr Asima Karim, who recently spent a week or so in Mardan, heading the first medical team comprising woman doctors and nurses from the University of Health Sciences.

    'Most of such women have reached these camps after walking miles and miles without proper food and rest. Their condition has not been satisfactory but they would only discuss their medical problems with a female doctor, nurse or allied health professional,’ said Dr Asima who termed sanitary conditions there alarming.

    She fears an outbreak of cholera, diarrhoea and other gastrointestinal diseases in the forthcoming rainy season if immediate measures are not taken to address the sanitation issue. 

    She found most inhabitants of the camps in warm clothes while mercury remaining over 45 degrees most of the days. The food supplied to them was also not found properly cooked most of the time, besides a dearth of clean drinking water.

    ‘We daily had a number of patients who would request not to give them free medicines but an extra bottle of mineral water.’

    ‘There is no security issue for women at these camps. People respect lady doctors a lot and pray for their long life, health and prosperity. A large number of people would come to us just to say thanks after recovering from their ailments,’ recalled Dr Asima.

    Dehydration, heat stroke, scabies and skin rashes were common among the 150 or so people Dr Asima and her six female and five male colleagues would examine daily on an average at their `hospitals on wheels’.

    The mobile hospitals they had taken from Lahore had all sorts of emergency medicines, besides packs of quality milk for infants and babies. The doctors’ team had the support of 10 female and two male nurses, besides one female and five male paramedics.

    ‘Three male and as many female doctors would examine patients from 8am to 8pm daily, without a collective break for lunch or prayers, while for two hours in the evening the lady doctors would visit mosques and schools to check ailing women there who could not make it to our mobile hospitals.’

    ‘There were language barriers, but we found two educated local girls who would act as interpreters. We also wrote down frequently asked questions (FAQs) in Urdu, got them translated in Pushto to learn the same by heart,’ said Dr Asima who wished to again go to the camps like her colleagues.
    And  the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, 
    Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren,  ye have done it unto me.

    Matthew 25:40

    Offline Satyagraha

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    Re: The “war on terror”: creating refugees one village at a time
    « Reply #33 on: June 10, 2009, 01:26:05 pm »
    Pakistan conflict could displace 500,000 more-UN
    http://www.reuters.com/article/homepageCrisis/idUSL91050827._CH_.2400

    By Megan Rowling

    LONDON, June 9 (Reuters) - The United Nations is preparing for some half a million people to flee Pakistan's northwest region of Waziristan if the government mounts a big operation against Taliban militants there, the U.N. aid chief said.

    John Holmes, the U.N. under-secretary-general for humanitarian affairs, said on Tuesday that plans were being made to deal with the fallout from an anticipated expansion of the army's offensive to root out insurgents in the northern Swat valley, which has already displaced around two million people.

    Holmes said the government appeared to be considering a similar strategy in the lawless tribal lands of Waziristan on the Afghan border -- known as a Taliban stronghold -- which would present a fresh challenge for stretched aid agencies.

    "Half a million people or more might come out of Waziristan. They will not go to the same geographical area as the present (uprooted people), so it's a completely separate operation," he told Reuters in a telephone interview fron New York.

    "That's why our contingency planning has been focusing on that and how we might manage, which is not going to be easy, and will require a further effort and more resources."

    The exact number of civilians uprooted by fighting in the north remains fluid as the government is still registering people, and there have been estimates that 2.5 million people have been displaced. [nISL449110]

    But most of those uprooted by the violence have been forced to flee their homes since the end of April, and are crammed into the houses of host families or camps.


    SHORT OF FUNDS


    Aid groups are struggling to cope with the surge in need for food and other relief. On May 22, the United Nations launched an appeal for $543 million to help those displaced by the conflict, but as of Tuesday, it had received only around a quarter.

    Holmes said the slow response from international donors was putting the humanitarian response at risk.

    "These are very costly operations and some of the agencies on the food and other sides are making clear they will not be able to continue with this for more than a few more weeks, unless some funding comes through," he said.

    He added that he did not know why governments were reluctant to contribute, given the strong international interest in Pakistan's efforts to tackle hardline Islamic militancy, but warned the humanitarian crisis was unlikely to end quickly.

    "Our assumption is that this is going to last for several months before everybody can go home at the very least, because conditions in the areas we have been able to get into, like Buner, suggest there's a lot of work to do to restore basic services and clear up," he said.

    The United Nations has not yet been able to enter much of the conflict zone to check on how many people remain and on the conditions. Only the Red Cross has been given access to Mingora, the main town in Swat.

    "We would like to get in there as soon as is practical, but for the moment ... the government does not want us to go in ... and it is not safe to go there, so that's not something that is going to happen in the very immediate future," Holmes said. (Reporting by Megan Rowling)

    And  the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, 
    Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren,  ye have done it unto me.

    Matthew 25:40

    Offline bigron

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    • RON PAUL FOR PRESIDENT 2012
    Re: The “war on terror”: creating refugees one village at a time
    « Reply #34 on: June 11, 2009, 11:14:05 am »
    Into the Swat Refugee Camp

    Down and Out in Shah Mansoor


    By KATHY KELLY and DAN PEARSON



    June 11, 2009
    http://www.uruknet.info/?p=m55023&hd=&size=1&l=e

    In Pakistan’s Swabi district, a bumpy road leads to Shah Mansoor, a small village surrounded by farmland. Just outside the village, uniform size tents are set up in hundreds of rows. The sun bores down on the Shah Mansoor camp which has become a temporary home to thousands of displaced Pakistanis from the Swat area. In the stifling heat, the camp’s residents sit idly, day after day, uncertain about their future. They spoke with heated certainty, though, about their grievances.

    As soon as we stepped out of the car, men and children approached us. They had all arrived from Mingora, the main city of Swat, 15 days prior. One young man, a student, told us that bombing and shelling had increased in their area, but because of a government imposed curfew they weren’t allowed to leave their homes. Suddenly, the Pakistani Army warned them to leave within four hours or they would be killed. With the curfew lifted long enough for them to get out of Mingora, they joined a mass exodus of people and walked for three days before reaching this camp.

    After being assigned to a section of the camp coordinated by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), they were provided with tents and plastic mats. So far, 554 tents are set up in this section, with an average of 6 – 10 people living in each tent.

    Inside the tents we visited, families had few belongings. Some more fortunate families have a few cooking supplies and utensils. But for the most part, they now own little more than the clothing they wore when they fled from their homes. The neatness of the camp disguises the chaos that has afflicted its inhabitants.

    A man who owned a small shop in Mingora described the carnage and chaos they had left behind. "There were not hundreds but thousands of dead bodies on the streets," he said. "We had only enough time to dig a mass grave and cover some of the bodies with mud." Since the media has been banned from entering Mingora, it’s impossible to establish facts about the numbers of civilians who were killed. But the men gathered around us nodded in agreement as the shopkeeper spoke. "They were killing us in that way, there, now in this way, here," he said, pointing to the tents. "Aren’t we part of this country?"

    "For the past two years," the shopkeeper continued, "the government hasn’t killed the Taliban. They only kill our women and children."

    "The UNHCR has been helpful," said another man, a farmer, "but so far no government official has come to ask how we are. Isn’t this our government?"

    Along with disappointment in their government, they harbor resentment toward the wealthy people of Swat. The men we were talking to did not have jobs that would earn high incomes. One man was a fruit and vegetable vendor. Another drove a donkey cart. Several others were farmers. Many nodded as the shopkeeper decried the rich people who, he said, are now in Islamabad, living in air conditioned places, just as they did in Swat. "These people got rich at the expense of the poor people," said one of the farmers.

    The circle opened up and an elderly man joined us. The shopkeeper explained that the elderly man’s 5-room house was leveled by shelling. His three sons and five daughters are nowhere to be found. The older man stood with us, silent and trembling.

    The shopkeeper told more details about difficulties they faced living in the tents. They sleep on the ground with no padding. They have no water for bathing. Four latrines were set up, but none of them have doors and they aren’t yet ready for use. The UNHCR officials have said they could provide electricity for this section of the camp. All they need is government permission, but it hasn’t yet been granted. A few days ago, the government sent a water truck, but the water was for sale.

    The UNHCR recorded each person’s name when they distributed the tents. This is as close as these refugees have come to being officially registered. "The government announces that registration has happened," said one man, speaking in English, "but it only happens on the air."

    The men we talked with said they were poor, in Mingora, but at least they had beds to sleep on. They could cook their own food, earn a living and provide the basic needs for their families.

    The men believe the government should open up the roadblocks and let them go home. They are frustrated because fighting with the Taliban has gone on for two years. "The Taliban aren’t killed," said one man, "just our women and children."

    The women rarely leave the tents which become insufferably hot in the afternoon. Listless little children were lying on the ground in one tent. Where the children come from, it is much cooler. Their mother said the children can’t adjust to the heat and always feel sick.

    We asked the men if they could see any purpose for all of this suffering and violence. They said they think the purpose is to take their land and give it to someone else. When we asked to whom they thought their land would be given, they listed four countries: Afghanistan, India, China or America.

    Perhaps they weren’t aware that U.S. envoy Richard Holbrooke had visited another section of the camp six days ago. Richard Holbrooke assured that the international community would "try its best for provision of maximum facilities to the displaced persons of Swat, Buner and other affected areas." (AP Pakistan, June 4, 2009)

    But Holbrooke’s plans have already been violently derailed in nearby Peshawar where he visited the premises of the five-star Pearl Continental Hotel last week. The AP reports that, according to two senior US officials in Washington, the State Department had been in negotiations with the hotel’s owners "to either purchase the facility or sign a long term lease to house a new American consulate in Peshawar." (AP, June 10) On June 9, a huge truck bomb destroyed the hotel, killing eleven people and wounding sixty.

    As we ended our conversation, the shopkeeper pointed at three military helicopters flying overhead. "These are the same as those that shelled us," he said. He handed the sick child he carried in his arms over to the child’s grandfather and pointed to the mountain nearest the camp. "We’ve seen these helicopters fire at this mountain. The explosives splinter the mountainside. The children are afraid that the helicopters will hit them again."

    It’s difficult to see what can point to a new and better life for the people affected by this latest round of violence and war in Pakistan. A ban sign superimposed on a rifle is posted on a billboard at the entrance to the camp, announcing that weapons are prohibited. A true ban on weapon proliferation, agreed to by all parties involved, coupled with determination to equitably share resources with impoverished people in Pakistan would be one way to promise a better future for Pakistan’s children. For now, the little ones languishing in the camp are, quite literally, down and out in Shah Mansoor.

    Kathy Kelly ([email protected]) and Dan Pearson ([email protected]) are co-coordinators of Voices for Creative Nonviolence (www.vcnv.org). With Gene Stoltzfus and Razia Ahmed, they are traveling in Pakistan. Kelly is the author of Other Lands Have Dreams published by CounterPunch / AK Press.





     

    Offline bigron

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    • RON PAUL FOR PRESIDENT 2012
    Re: The “war on terror”: creating refugees one village at a time
    « Reply #35 on: June 11, 2009, 11:17:12 am »
    At least 40,000 civilians (still)  in Pakistan's Swat: Red Cross


     

    Pakistani civilians queue for food Swabi


    June 10, 2009
    http://www.uruknet.info/?p=m55017&hd=&size=1&l=e

    GENEVA (AFP) – Some 40,000 civilians remain in Pakistan's troubled Swat region where they lack access to electricity and water amid a military assault against the Taliban, the Red Cross said on Tuesday.

    "Every time we entered a village, hundreds of people asked for help," said Michael von Bergen, an International Committee of the Red Cross representative who was part of a convoy delivering aid in the region last weekend.

    "Those who did not leave are now desperate. They need food, clean water and working medical facilities," he added in a statement.

    The situation in the area "remains volatile," assessed the ICRC, adding that a curfew remain in place in Swat.

    Pakistan launched its push into Lower Dir, Buner and Swat in late April and early May after the Taliban advanced to within 100 kilometres (60 miles) of Islamabad, violating a deal to put three million people under sharia law in exchange for peace.

    Pakistan has not released civilian casualty figures as a result of the operations but says more than 1,300 rebels have been killed. The fighting has displaced around 2.4 million people.



     

    Offline bigron

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    • RON PAUL FOR PRESIDENT 2012
    Re: The “war on terror”: creating refugees one village at a time
    « Reply #36 on: June 16, 2009, 09:32:37 am »
    Report highlights plight of war zone refugees

    6-16-09

    Story Highlights :

    U.N. reports shows slight decline in global refugee numbers to 42 million in 2008

    But numbers set to rise in 2009 because of Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Somalia conflicts

    Pakistan hosted the largest number of refugees in the world at 1.8 million

    Around 2 million refugees returned home in 2009


    (CNN) -- The number of uprooted people across the world dropped slightly last year, but new displacement this year in conflict zones like Pakistan, Somalia and Sri Lanka so far "has already more than offset the decline," the U.N. refugee agency said Tuesday.

    "Today, we are seeing a relentless series of internal conflicts that are generating millions of uprooted people," U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres said in a news release.

    This is one of the main points in Global Trends, an annual report by the U.N. agency on developments regarding refugees, internally displaced people, asylum seekers and stateless people.

    The number of "uprooted people worldwide" in 2008 was 42 million, a drop of about 700,000 from 2007, according to the report.

    "In 2009, we have already seen substantial new displacements, namely in Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Somalia," Guterres said.

    "While some displacements may be short-lived, others can take years and even decades to resolve. We continue to face several longer-term internal displacement situations in places like Colombia, Iraq, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Somalia. Each of these conflicts has also generated refugees who flee beyond their borders."

    The number of refugees and internally displaced people who returned home in 2008 was around 2 million, a decline from 2007, the report said.

    Refugee repatriation, which was 604,000, was down 17 percent. Displaced people's returns were down by 34 percent at 1.4 million people.

    "Traditionally the largest durable solution for refugees, it was the second-lowest repatriation total in 15 years," the report said. "The decline in part reflects deteriorating security conditions, namely in Afghanistan and Sudan."

    The report listed other statistics and trends in 2008:


    Of the 42 million uprooted people, 15.2 million were refugees, 26 million were internally displaced people and 827,000 were asylum seekers.

    Developing nations hosted four-fifths of refugees.

    Women and girls represented 47 percent of refugees and asylum seekers, half of all internally displaced people and refugee returnees.

    People below age 18 represented 44 percent of refugees and asylum seekers.

    Pakistan hosted the largest number of refugees in the world at 1.8 million, followed by Syria at 1.1 million and Iran at 980,000.

    Afghan and Iraqi refugees made up almost half of all refugees worldwide.

    One out of four refugees were from Afghanistan at 2.8 million and were in 69 asylum countries. Iraqis are the second largest group with 1.9 million "having sought refuge mainly in neighboring countries."

    Colombia harbored one of the world's largest internally displaced populations, with an estimated 3 million people there.

    In Iraq, there were around 2.6 million internally displaced at the end of 2008, and 1.4 million had been uprooted over the past three years.

    More than 2 million internally displaced people were in Sudan's Darfur region.

    "Renewed armed conflict in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo and in Somalia last year brought total displacement in each to 1.5 million and 1.3 million respectively."

    South Africa has emerged as the "largest recipient of individual applications in the world." There were more than 207,000 asylum claims there, about one-quarter of applications worldwide. More than half of the claims were from Zimbabweans.

     
    Find this article at:
    http://edition.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/asiapcf/06/16/world.refugees.report/index.html 
     

    Offline Satyagraha

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    Re: The “war on terror”: creating refugees one village at a time
    « Reply #37 on: June 19, 2009, 10:30:02 pm »
    People flee Mohmand Agency as militants’ sanctuaries pounded

    http://www.geo.tv/6-20-2009/44487.htm
    Updated at: 0655 PST,  Saturday, June 20, 2009
     
    PESHAWAR: The tribesmen are fleeing the war zones of Mohmand Agency as the security forces have started pounding militants suspected hideouts in the agency on Friday, Geo news said.

    According to sources, people have begun to migrate from big and small villages located in upper Mohman Agency including Jarobi Darra, Sahabzay, Toratiga and Agaz as fresh shelling on the hideouts of militants has been commenced.

    Security forces continued pounding militants sanctuaries with many intervals on Friday but no loss of life or property was reported according to preliminary reports, sources added however, people, as a precaution, are vacating their homes to avoid any damage to their life.

    The administration in the Agency has already warned tribesmen to throw militants out of villages, sources said.
    And  the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, 
    Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren,  ye have done it unto me.

    Matthew 25:40

    Offline Satyagraha

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    Re: The “war on terror”: creating refugees one village at a time
    « Reply #38 on: June 19, 2009, 11:10:54 pm »

    Referring to Pakistanis as IDP's has the effect of making them 'aliens' in their own homeland. Non mainstream media reports have criticized the use of this term, but you still find the mainstream news using "IDPs" all the time. With this in mind...

    IDPs have pushed their hosts ‘to the limit’
    Friday, 19 Jun, 2009 | 03:33 AM PST |

    ISLAMABAD: People fleeing fighting in Pakistan are putting a huge burden on communities where they are sheltering but the United Nations can only help a fraction of them because it doesn’t have enough funds, a UN official said.

    Aid agencies have issued urgent, multi-million dollar calls for aid for people displaced by the fighting. Nearly 2 million people have fled the fighting in Malakand division and other areas, top UN humanitarian coordinator in Pakistan Martin Mogwanja told a news conference on Thursday.

    While some of the internally displaced persons have moved into relief camps set up by aid agencies and the government, most are staying with friends or relatives in so-called host communities.

    ‘This is a massive, massive influx of people to be suddenly hosted within a space of three to four weeks,’ Mr Mogwanja said.

    He said in some places scores of people were crammed into a couple of rooms.

    Thousands of tons of food and other supplies have been distributed but the strain on communities was still immense, he added.

    ‘The healthcare services, the public water services, the sanitation services, the schools services, have all been pushed to their absolute limit and some have surpassed their limits,’ he said.

    The United Nations appealed last month for $543 million to help the displaced but only $166 million, or 31 per cent of that, has materialised, he said.

    ‘Our resources are limited and we are reaching only a fraction of those whom we would like to reach among the host communities and this is a great concern,’ he said.

    Mr Mogwanja declined to say when he thought the displaced might be able to go home, saying the government and the United Nations had drawn up a set of conditions which needed to be met, including security and the restoration of utilities and services.

    ‘The government is very clear that it wants to achieve these conditions as soon as possible and they are working very hard to do so,’ he said.

    ‘But as of now, we have not come across a situation where all conditions are complete but we’re hopeful that these conditions can be met in the near future,’ he said.

    The military is planning an offensive against Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan leader Baitullah Mehsud in his stronghold in South Waziristan.

    Already, thousands of people have left the region, residents say, and a full offensive is likely to spark another exodus into a region where UN staff cannot go because of security worries.

    Two foreign UN workers were killed in a suicide attack on a hotel in Peshawar on June 9, but Mr Mogwanja said that would not stop the aid effort. – Reuters
    And  the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, 
    Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren,  ye have done it unto me.

    Matthew 25:40

    Offline Satyagraha

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    Re: The “war on terror”: creating refugees one village at a time
    « Reply #39 on: June 25, 2009, 11:26:59 am »

    Waziristan tribesmen wait nervously for army assault
    Thursday, 25 Jun, 2009 | 02:32 PM PST
    http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/news/pakistan/provinces/09-south-waziristan-tribesmen-wait-nervously-for-army-assault-szh--05

    WANA: The residents of South Waziristan know hard times are coming. Troops are massing on their doorstep, they say, food is in short supply, and tens of thousands of civilians are already on the move.

    Military and government officials have vowed a full-scale operation into the semi-autonomous, fiercely-independent tribal belt along the Afghan border to hunt down Pakistan Taliban commander Baitullah Mehsud and his fighters.

    There has been no indication of when a ground offensive may begin, but Pakistani fighter jets have been pummelling Taliban positions in the area for weeks, and nervous residents are now just waiting for the worst to come.

    ‘We can see a large scale movement by ground troops, they are equipped with small and heavy weapons,’ said 28-year-old Noor Yaseen, who lives in South Waziristan’s main town of Wana.

    ‘The army are targeting the militants through air strikes or shelling by helicopters. The Taliban are not allowing technicians to repair the electricity towers damaged during the crossfire,’ he said.

    ‘I saw people bringing water on donkeys from miles away (to Wana and nearby villages). There is no water in mosques, in houses and in madrassas.’

    The main Wana bazaar remains open, but people complain about food shortages, while most electricity has been disconnected because of outbursts of fighting between security forces and militants active in the area.

    ‘There has been no electricity for 20 days, we are already facing shortages of fuel, food and water,’ said 35-year-old farmer Umar Gul.

    Roads in and out of the main district hub have been closed for about a month, in what analysts say could be a tactic by the military to impose an economic blockade on militants ahead of the tribal campaign.

    Wana is surrounded by high hills covered with orchards, but although the fruit is ripe, farmers say there are no workers to harvest it.

    ‘You see, the Wana-Jandola road is closed, the Wana-Tank road is closed... we are fed up with this situation,’ said Gul.

    Many people have already started packing up their belongings and heading to safer districts.

    An army offensive against the Taliban in three other northwest districts which began in late April has already created Pakistan’s largest displacement crisis since partition from India in 1947.

    The United Nations says that about two million people have been uprooted from Swat valley and nearby districts, and are now suffering in limbo in hot and dusty refugee camps, or crowding into relatives’ homes.

    A similar exodus is beginning in the tribal belt.

    Pakistan’s military says that so far 45,000 people have fled the area, most heading to the neighbouring districts of Tank and Dera Ismail Khan, which unlike South Waziristan are under full government control.

    Those who stay are kept awake at night by the sounds of war.

    ‘Every night we hear heavy firing, forces used artillery and this creates havoc,’ said Gul Wali Khan, a local shopkeeper in Wana bazaar.

    ‘We can see helicopters and Pakistan war planes flying in the sky. Jet planes fly very high and are almost invisible.’

    It is not just Pakistani jets that residents fear.

    On Tuesday, unmanned US drone aircraft fired missiles on a funeral gathering of militants in a remote Mehsud stronghold deep in the mountains, reportedly killing about 50 people in the deadliest drone attack in South Waziristan.

    Washington alleges that the tribal belt has become a haven for Al Qaeda and Taliban rebels who fled Afghanistan after the 2001 US-led invasion.

    There is a common feeling among Wana’s residents that this time the military offensive will be harsh.

    Analysts have said that an operation into the tribal belt will be a tougher challenge than clearing out Taliban militants from Swat, with Mehsud entrenched among his supporters in remote areas and the government holding little sway.

    Local government and law and order are run by tribal councils, with many sympathetic to the Taliban because of ethnic ties.

    ‘It looks like the army is preparing for a full-scale offensive,’ said Wana resident Zumurd Khan. ‘They are taking positions and gathering at various important places.’
    And  the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, 
    Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren,  ye have done it unto me.

    Matthew 25:40