AID CRISIS AMID PAKISTAN VIOLENCE

By NBF News
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Major aid agencies have warned that a funding crisis is threatening attempts to help people who have fled the fighting in Pakistan's Swat valley.

The nine charities said they needed $42m to provide emergency supplies for 2.5 million displaced people.

They have fled fighting between the army and the Taliban which has spread to other parts of the north-west.

In South Waziristan, dozens of militants attacked army posts stationed in a tribal region.

Three soldiers were killed in the co-ordinated attacks on bases in Jandola, Chakmalai and Splitoi towns in South Waziristan.

South and North Waziristan are semi-autonomous tribal districts where al-Qaeda and the Taliban are believed to be entrenched.

Waziristan has been described by US officials as “the most dangerous place on earth”. It is said to harbour some of the world's most wanted men including al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden.

The army is currently involved in an operation targeting militant hide-outs adjacent to Waziristan. Analysts say the operation signals their determination to remove militants sheltering in these districts.

But there have been fears of an insurgent backlash in response to the army's military campaigns.

A previously little-known group Abdullah Azzam Shaheed (Martyr) brigade has claimed responsibility for Tuesday's attack on the Pearl Continental Hotel in Peshawar which left 18 dead.

Aid crisis
Since April, when the Pakistani military launched its campaign to take back control of the Swat valley region from the Taliban, aid agencies have been struggling to cope with the sheer number of people who have had to flee their homes.

Oxfam's Humanitarian Director, Jane Cocking, has described this as the worst funding crisis the agency has faced for a major humanitarian emergency in over a decade.

Aid workers fear that the onset of monsoon rains in July could stretch resources even further – increasing the risk of diarrhoea and malaria for displaced people.

Things could actually be a lot worse than the already dire warnings.

The head of another charity, Carolyn Miller of Merlin, said they would be facing a “humanitarian meltdown” were it not for the generosity of Pakistani families and communities of modest means who are looking after the vast majority of these people.

The world's richest nations, she said, needed to dig much deeper in their pockets to help.