Since the Pakistan army began an offensive against the Taliban in North Waziristan, more than 830,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) have been forced to other parts of Pakistan (largely the Bannu District) and an estimated 112,000 people have fled to Afghanistan.
A tribal, lawless and mountainous region in northwest Pakistan, North Waziristan has long served as a sanctuary for militants in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border region. Despite the unstable conditions, International Medical Corps recently completed a humanitarian needs assessment in the region. As a result, emergency response teams are preparing to support sexual and reproductive health programs to help reduce and prevent maternal and neonatal mortality. The organization will also deliver mental health programs by improving access to care for IDPs who have been affected by the violence and displacement from their homes. International Medical Corps in Afghanistan is also completing an assessment to identify key needs in host communities who are supporting Pakistani refugees.
International Medical Corps has been working in Pakistan for nearly thirty years and is well placed to immediately deliver an emergency response. The organization has responded to numerous major natural disasters in Pakistan and was among the first to respond to the massive 2005 earthquake and the 2010 floods. In Pakistan, International Medical Corps also operates programs to support self-reliance including water, sanitation and hygiene programs, comprehensive basic health services, and trainings for health professionals. Today, International Medical Corps is the only organization providing primary health care services to internally-displaced Pakistanis and Afghan refugees in four refugee camps.