Fighting in Pakistan's North Waziristan region uproots more than 400,000

Tuesday, 24 June 2014 11:18 GMT

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ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, June 24 (UNHCR) - The current military offensive by Pakistan's military against Taliban militants in the north of the country has displaced more than 400,000 people and the number continues to rise.

According to the latest government registration figures, 435,429 people, including some 183,000 children, have fled from combat zones in North Waziristan agency since mid-June. The newly displaced are being registered in Saidgai, as well as Khurram and Alizai in Kurram Agency to the north-east of North Waziristan.

Most of the families have sought refuge in different parts of Bannu, Lakki Marwat, Dera Ismail Khan and Tank in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. There are also reports of families now arriving in Punjab and Balochistan. Almost all the internally displaced people are being hosted by local communities.

"The government of Pakistan and our UN and humanitarian community partners expect up to half-a -million people could be displaced by the current military operations," UNHCR spokesman Dan McNorton told journalists in Geneva. He said this would bring the total number of displaced people from the tribal regions of the country to 1.5 million (including 930,000 uprooted in various waves since 2009).

UN officials this week met with the Ministry for States and Frontier Regions - the coordinating ministry for relief efforts - and offered support for humanitarian operations in the area of protection and registration as well as the provision of emergency relief items. The government had made a formal request to the UN for assistance.

A key challenge for aid agencies is access to the areas where the displaced are arriving. The UN and partners have called for full and unimpeded access to the affected populations to allow the delivery of humanitarian aid.