Unicef shows satisfaction over IDPs rehabilitation

KARACHI - The case history of internally-displaced persons is not new in Pakistan; larger number of Afghan diasporas were displaced when Afghan conflict took place in the 1980s. Since then, their plight continued to worsen and many organizations, mostly those under the banner of United Nations had worked to ease their sufferings in the turbulent times. But in most recent times one comes across the plight of refugees and those who are hit hard as in the case of Swat and Buner areas, where the Pakistan Army was busy with fighting against the militants. According to the latest data released by UNICEF, more than 2,35,159 families, (1.65 million people) have returned home as of 8 September 2009.This means more than two thirds of the 2.7 million people (383,190 families) that were registered as internally-displaced persons, or IDPs, have returned. As reported by the Commissionerate of Afghan Refugees reports that as of 8th September around 25,279 families or 142,144 individuals left the camps. As in this month alone, World Food Program, an organisation working under the agesis of UN, more than 35 hubs of food centers will open and the organisation will reach more than 2 million people. The special Eid/Ramadan package contains 5kg rice, 3kg sugar, 1kg salt, 2kg dates, 1kg spices, 3kg juice powder, 4kg bread flour, 3kg Pakora flour and 2kg milk. As far as the plight of young school-going children is concerned, it remains an unanswered prayer Altogether 548 schools have been destroyed or partially damaged during the conflict. Out of this number, 137 schools were affected in FATA and 411 in Malakand Division. Among those destroyed are 147 girls schools. A Welcome to School initiative will be launched in Swat, Buner, Lower Dir and Malakand, and aims to benefit 5,32,000 children, providing temporary learning spaces, educational supplies and teacher training. As an initial response, UNICEF has dispatched 100 school tents to Swat and Buner, so that children whose schools have been damaged or destroyed dont miss out on education. In the host communities where Internally-Displaced People (IDPs) took refuge, more than 4,830 schools were converted to shelters. These schools must be repaired and rehabilitated to provide adequate and healthy environments for children to learn. For damaged schools that previously housed IDP families in the hosting districts of NWFP, UNICEF has prioritised the repair and rehabilitation of 3,565 primary schools. More than 1,000 schools have been rehabilitated to date, and work is currently underway on over 900 schools. An estimated 543,000 children will benefit. In the camps, 8,000 IDP children are still supported by UNICEF in continuing their education. 15 host community schools are also supported.

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