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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Over 750,000 uprooted Pakistanis return home, UN reports

10 August 2009 – Out of the more than 2 million people uprooted by clashes between Governments and militants in north-western Pakistan, some 765,000 have now returned to their homes, but continued fighting is causing a fresh round of displacement, the United Nations humanitarian arm said today.

Some 1.2 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) are still living with host communities, while over 160,000 others are sheltering in 21 camps, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

As a result of the pace of returns, nine camps have closed, it added.

But ongoing military operations in the Upper Dir district have forced others into camps. With schools in Lower Dir having re-opened, IDPs must take refuge elsewhere, and district authorities asking the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to build three camps to house up to 20,000 people.

Meanwhile, new outbreaks of fighting in Buner district have sent 35,000 people fleeing their homes.

The UN is continuing to assist returning IDPs, with the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) will rehabilitate schools.

The World Food Programme (WFP) and UNHCR will identify potential sites for humanitarian hubs to distribute food and other items to returnees.

For its part, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has found that the conflict has impeded food production, with nearly two-thirds of the vegetable crop having been ruined.

OCHA today reported that only 44 per cent of the $542 million requested by the revised Pakistan Humanitarian Response Plan has been funded.

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