International Medical Corps is expanding its response to the displacement crisis in Pakistan with early recovery activities for Buner District, an area affected by the recent fighting in the Northwest Frontier Province. The organization is the first to help the displaced return to their homes in Buner after the conflict that began on May 3.
International Medical Corps’ early recovery activities in Buner include assistance for the District Headquarters Hospital in Daggar, which remained operational throughout the conflict, but struggled with limited electricity, insecurity, and emigration of hospital staff. In its early recovery assessment of Buner, International Medical Corps found that the district does not have enough medicine and medical supplies to meet the need when people begin to return home. As a result, International Medical Corps is stocking the hospital with medical supplies and medicines, as well as staff, including female doctors and lady health visitors.
“As many of those displaced are now slowly returning, it is critical to make sure that conditions are not only safe, but also that basic services are available and accessible,” says Sonia Walia, International Medical Corps Regional Coordinator for Asia. “With much of the region’s infrastructure destroyed, Buner needs immediate and long-term assistance with health care, education, and agriculture to encourage people to stay and begin the process of rebuilding their lives.”
International Medical Corps’ early recovery activities in Buner are the latest addition to its emergency response activities in the region. International Medical Corps teams are also providing 24-hour medical care for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Chota Lahore Camp, seeing more than 600 patients each day. International Medical Corps is also operating four mobile medical units in eight union councils of Swabi serving the local populations and the displaced residing in the community.
International Medical Corps has also been providing services to those displaced from related military operations in August 2008 in Peshawar, Nowshehra, Charsadda, and Lower Dir. Its emergency relief efforts reached more than 50,000 people with services like health care, water and sanitation, and hygiene promotion.
Millions of civilians have fled the Swat valley since anti-government forces seized control of Swat’s capital of Mngora on May 3. About a week later the Taliban also pushed into the Buner District, an area just 60 miles from the capital of Islamabad. On June 14, the Government of Pakistan began its offensive in South Waziristan, with continued fighting throughout the week. Thousands continue to flee the region.