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Over 600,000 Pakistani IDPs return to their homes
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20:12, July 30, 2009

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Over 600,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) have returned to their homes out of total 2.2 million displaced during the conflict in different areas of Pakistan's North West Frontier Province (NWFP), according to a UN officer in Pakistan.

"Some of IDPs camps have been closed as displaced persons staying there have returned to their homes," UN humanitarian spokesperson Stephanie Bunker informed media at a news conference here on Thursday.

More than three million people have been internally dislocated in Pakistan due to the offensives against Taliban in the country's militancy-hit northwest. Pakistani government has vowed to restore the writ of the government in some parts of NWFP where Taliban militants were actively present.

A spokesman of the Special Support Group for IDPs said Tuesday the registration process of the IDPs has been stopped, with over 150,000 displaced families of Malakand division have so far returned to their native areas.

Bunker however reiterated efforts for sustainability of those returning to their homes in terms of settlement and provision of basic needs.

She said "a Task Force has been set up to look into the affairs of resettlement and provision of basic needs as some other families are eager to go back."

She said the agriculture in the conflict area has been badly damaged and there is need for short, mid and long term assistance for sustainability of the people.

Bunker said people in Swat, Buner and other areas in Pakistan's northwest still need assistance to establish their businesses and explore employment opportunities.

Answering a question regarding missing children, Bunker said, there are reports about missing children and they endeavor to have better information about them and ensure their reunion.

Source: Xinhua



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