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Disease outbreak fears for conflict displaced in Pakistan

June 14 2012 Christian Aid is deeply concerned about the heightened risk of dysentery, diarrhoea and malaria and other communicable diseases amongst the hundreds of thousands of people in northwest Pakistan made homeless by escalating violence.

As the monsoon season begins this month, children and the elderly living in camp conditions with poor sanitation and insufficient food are particularly vulnerable to disease.

Since January, the Pakistani government has accelerated their military operations against local militia groups in the Khyber Agency - an area in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas region of Pakistan near the Afghan border.

The violence has caused large-scale displacement across the region as families flee their homes and seek safety elsewhere, mainly to the Peshawar valley and Jalozai camp areas in the neighboring province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Rabia Sabri, from Christian Aid partner CWS-P/A describes the situation: ‘Children are traumatized and with hot weather approaching almost 42 degrees Celsius skin diseases and malaria are becoming more prominent.  Children have no spare clothes and some are walking bare foot with no access to proper cleaning facilities or regular food’.

The UN confirmed that almost a quarter of a million people have been displaced since January. They join the four hundred thousand already displaced in a region plagued by the fall out of the conflict since military operations began against insurgents in 2008.

The influx of internally displaced persons (IDPs) is expected to continue on as military operations expand to other regions.  According to the Pakistan government, the displacement is expected to last throughout this year.

Neill Garvie from Christian Aid said, ‘We are helping CWS-P/A assist the displaced people who are being hosted by families in the surrounding areas.

‘The main issues facing the displaced are a lack of food and water, with children affected the most, facing illness and suffering from psychological trauma from the events they witnessed before displacement.

‘With increasing hot weather and the imminent Monsoon season, they face a harsh few months and urgently need help.’

Christian Aid has already begun responding to this crisis by providing health care through mobile health clinics, distributing food and emergency items including mosquito nets, plastic mats, kitchen sets and hygiene kits, and providing toilets and access to safe drinking water.

If you would like further information please contact Sarah Wilson on 0207 523 2277 or 07930 341525 or swilson@christian-aid.org or 07850 242950  


Notes to Editors

1. Christian Aid works in some of the world's poorest communities in nearly 50 countries. We act where there is great need, regardless of religion, helping people build the lives they deserve.
2. Christian Aid has a vision, an end to global poverty, and we believe that vision can become a reality. Our report, Poverty Over, explains what we believe needs to be done – and can be done – to end poverty.  Details at http://www.christianaid.org.uk/Images/poverty-over-report.pdf

3. Christian Aid is a member of the ACT Alliance, a global coalition of 100 churches and church-related organisations that work together inhumanitarian assistance and development.  Further details at http://www.actalliance.org

4. Follow Christian Aid's newswire on Twitter: http://twitter.com/caid_newswire

5. For more information about the work of Christian Aid visit www.christianaid.org.uk