Pakistan, May 15, 2009
—Fazal, 27, fled from Kabal in the Swat valley with his wife and two children as fighting escalated between militant forces and the Pakistani army over the past week.
Desperate to escape the threat of bombardment they managed to ride on the back of a truck with Fazal standing precariously on the thin grate at the rear. Fazal slipped off the ramp and was dragged for some distance along the road before the truck stopped. He now has a fractured, swollen ankle. However, like many internally displaced persons (IDPs), an injury is the least of his worries.
He is concerned for the health of his wife and daughter, but most of all for his six-year-old son who is suffering from Leukemia. Fazal sent his son to live with a relative in Peshawar because he wasn’t well enough to make the grueling trip to the Chota Lahore IDP camp in Swabi that the family now calls ‘home.’
“I am very confused and weak now. The turmoil has parched me both physically and mentally. I feel like my brain has stopped working as I am in a lot of stress due to this whole situation,” says Fazal.
Fazal is well acquainted with loss as two of his sons died from Leukemia two years ago. That doesn’t make the prospect of losing his home, livelihood, and most of all, another son, any easier.
Fazal and his family are among more than 1.5 million displaced persons who have fled their homes and lost their livelihoods in the recent conflict that has escalated after more than three years of ongoing violence.
“Now all I can think is to go to Faisalabad (460km from Chota Lahore Camp) with my family, where one of my other brothers is well settled, as my family cannot cope with camp life in this hot and rugged environment. But, whatever I had in my pocket has been spent on reaching this camp,” says Fazal.
Fazal says that 3000 PKR (US$50) would enable him to take his family, along with his son Ali, to Faisalabad.
“I don’t know whether he is left with much time to live but all I am dying for the family to be united,” he adds.
The Government is planning to close the Chota Lahore camp as it is located some distance from the main city of Swabi. It is expected that displaced families will be relocated to educational institutions that have been designated as ‘sub camps.’ Schools will be dismissed for early summer vacation in order to accommodate those who are displaced.
As the number of displaced individuals increases daily, so does the need for more relief items, food supplies, financial support and psychosocial support, especially for children.
World Vision has completed preliminary assessments from the Jalala camp in Mardan and the Chota Lahore camp in Swabi and host communities in seven villages.
World Vision will begin distributing relief items such as kitchen utensils, mattresses, cooking supplies, and hygiene kits to approximately 300-500 families living in host communities in Buner District. Urgent funding
is needed to enable World Vision to help meet the dire needs of people like Fazal, his wife and children.World Vision is a Christian relief and development organization dedicated to helping children and their communities worldwide reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty. We serve the world’s poor regardless of a person’s religion, race, ethnicity or gender. For more information, please visit www.worldvision.org/press.