Press Release

In the Wake of Renewed Conflict in Pakistan’s Swat Valley, International Medical Corps Mobilizes to Help the Newly Displaced

International Medical Corps is providing critical assistance to those already displaced by increased hostilities and the thousands more who are fleeing their homes in anticipation of a renewed offensive.  Two International Medical Corps emergency response teams in Mardan and Swabi districts will provide health and hygiene kits to newly displaced families and further assess the humanitarian situation.

“We are receiving reports that the majority of the displaced are seeking refuge in Jalala, Sheikh Shehzad, and Chota Lahore camps,” says Sonia Walia, International Medical Corps regional coordinator for Asia.  “Our teams responded immediately and are assessing the needs in these camps.  They will provide much-needed support for the displaced population over the coming days.”

International Medical Corps teams completed rapid assessment in two camps and identified the following needs: primary health care services and referrals, non-food items such as mosquito nets, kitchen sets, blankets, clean water and sanitation services, and psychosocial support.  The teams found more than 5,000 people who did not have access to basic facilities in all three camps.  This number is continuing to grow by the day.

International Medical Corps’ field teams are beginning a rapid provision of services.  The health and hygiene kits that International Medical Corps is distributing include a plastic bucket, towels, cloth, bath and laundry soap, and personal hygiene products.  Each kit contains enough supplies for a family of six. Many of the families arrived at the camps with very few basic necessities.

International Medical Corps is currently providing services to those displaced from related military operations in August 2008 in Peshawar, Nowshehra, Charsadda, and Lower Dir.  Its emergency relief efforts reach more than 50,000 people with services like health care, water and sanitation, and hygiene promotion. International Medical Corps plans to expand similar services for people living in the new camps.

It is estimated that between 500,000 and 800,000 are fleeing their homes in advance of a promised government military offensive.  On Sunday, the Taliban seized control of Mingora, Swat’s capital.  Two weeks ago, the Taliban pushed into another district, Buner, an area just 60 miles from the capital, Islamabad.

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