PESHAWAR: Thousands of people are trapped in the Bara tehsil of Khyber Agency because of the ongoing military operation.
All roads are blocked and there is no transport for people to get out of the conflict zone. Army and paramilitary forces recently launched the offensive against the banned Lashkar-i-Islam group headed by Mangal Bagh in Malikdinkhel, Sipah, Qamarkhel and Akakhel areas.
Affected people say that security forces have blocked all routes making it impossible for the thousands of families to leave for safe places.
They said that Sipah and Malikdinkhel were considered to be strongholds of the Lashkar and the operation was being carried out within a 30 kilometres radius of Bara.
Officials in the Fata Disaster Management Authority (FDMA) told Dawn on Tuesday that 9,233 families had so far reached the Jalozai relief camp in Nowshera.
The situation is very critical. Thousands of IDPs immediately need tents, food and other goods, said an official at the camp where around 16,000 displaced families from different parts of Fata have been living for some time.
The Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) is pitching new tents in the camp to accommodate fresh IDPs.
UN relief organisations have provided some tents and food at the relief centre. A senior official said that 4,000 families had reached Jalozai on Monday and another 1,200 to 1,300 families arrived on Tuesday.
We estimate that 20,000-plus families will flee their homes in Bara and come to Jalozai, he said, adding that UN agencies had been informed of the situation.
Sources said that UN had requested the Central Emergency Response Fund-II to provide $1.6 million for IDPs from Bara. The UNHCR and World Food Programme are providing tents and cooked meal to newly arrived IDPs in the camp.
It is said that thousands of people need immediate evacuation, but transporters were not allowed to operate in the area. Adam Khan, a resident of Akakhel, said he had reached Jalozai camp and got a tent and now he would go back to Bara to evacuate women and children.
There is heavy shelling from all directions and people are stranded in homes, he said, adding that army and Frontier Corps had sealed all routes. Officials in the provincial capital are complaining of a lukewarm response from the federal government to the crisis-like situation.
Response of the federal government is absolutely pathetic and we don’t know the reason. It can turn into a humanitarian crisis if UN agencies stop their work, an official said.
Relief workers said a large number of families were still without tents. Women and children are sleeping on the ground. We are pitching tents, but it is very difficult to accommodate such a large number of people given limited resources that we have, said Noor Akbar, an employee of the PDMA.