February 5, 2013 | By Sikh Siyasat Bureau
Peshawar, Pakistan (February 05, 2013): According to a “community alter” issued by a US based NGO – named “United Sikhs” – in recent months, the United Sikhs has spent £15,800 (approximately 13,00,000/- Indian rupees) to rehabilitate 42 of the 70 internally displaced minority families from the troubled Khyber Agency, who were forced last year to flee their homes and settle in Peshawar and Punja Sahib Hasan Abdal.
“Some families have been given funds towards the opening and running of small shops and others for opening savings accounts. Among the neediest were families whose breadwinners, Satnam Singh and Sardar Singh, were killed by mortar shell fire in the Khyber Agency in 2011. These two families received a donation of £2067 each, which was invested in Government Widows Bahbood Saving Schemes. Four other IDP families in critical need, who received £1000 each, included the widow, R Kaur, whose husband, Sher Singh, was killed by militants in 2009. Click here for details of help given by United Sikhs to the 42 displaced families from the Khyber Agency. Click here for photos of IDP families who received help and a video of the families receiving help may be viewed here” reads the release (dated January 31, 2013) issued by United Sikhs.
“There are at least 28 other IDP families who are in need of help and support. United Sikhs appeals for donations in this worsening situation for the rehabilitation of these displaced and distressed families who had to flee from danger, abandoning their shops and homes, and are now without any means of livelihood” said Mejindarpal Kaur, United Sikhs director.
“The demand for help from the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) was so urgent that we had to divert funds to them from our Rescue A Family project in the UK. We, therefore, urge our supporters to open their hearts and respond to the appeal for funds to help more IDP families,” added Mejindarpal Kaur.
“We are thankful to United Sikhs and the Bangkok Sikh Community who assisted Sardar Singh and Satnam Singh’s Families for their immediate needs. We are now appealing to United Sikhs supporters around the world to also support the education of the young children from both of the families”, said R. Singh, the late Sardar Singh’s nephew.
“When the fourth security operation began in the Khyber Agency, we were not allowed time to collect our stocks. Our shops remained shuttered from December 2009. The stocks rotted and we suffered a lot. We are again in a difficult situation as a fifth military operation has taken place. I also lost my younger brother in BARA and the government said it would help but no help has arrived. It was United Sikhs who supported Sardar Singh’s family in this hard situation”, said H. Singh brother of late Satnam Singh.
On-going security operations in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) have caused further displacements across the region, adding to the almost half a million people already displaced in the area since 2008 and unable to return home. According to UNHCR figures as of September 2012, the total IDP population in FATA and KP has reached 160,063 families (724,765 individuals), including 141,280 families (88%) settled in off-camp locations and 18,783 families (12%) residing in-camp. Of these 391,376 (over 50%) are children under 18 years of age.
Since June 2012, the registered IDPs from the Khyber Agency stands at 68,274 families, of which 9,263 families are accommodated at the Jalozai camp and the remaining 59,011 families reside with host communities. Residents in areas of Peshawar, close to the border of the Khyber Agency, frequently report loud explosions in the distance at night and officials anticipate a possible increase in the number of displaced persons.
The humanitarian needs of the IDP population are largely unmet; they are faced with increasing prices for basic commodities and cramped living conditions.
“The Winter season has further added to their troubles. These IDPs urgently need Non Food Items (NFI) i.e. blankets, hygiene kits, cloths, shoes, stockings and Food Items including flour, sugar, tea, dry milk or non-perishable milk, and medicines.” said Herdyal Singh.
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