Thursday, July 24, 2014

The situation in Bannu

Photo courtesy of The Nation
The situation in the town of Bannu is bleak. It is a city where temperatures are around 42 degrees, yet it is void of shady trees. There is a severe water shortage, lack of hygienic products and funds, yet there are over 1 million Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) who have arrived since June seeking momentarily to call this place ‘home’.

These people have walked for miles from North Waziristan under the hot Pakistani sun to seek security in Bannu City and FR Bannu after a swift evacuation order was called as the Pakistani army launched its anti-terror operation in the North Waziristan mid-June. They grabbed what they could and walked or requested rides trying to leave as soon as possible, some were able to carry cash, some livestock and some only a few belongings. They left behind a place familiar to them and a place with memories to escape from the current operation against the terrorists residing in the North Waziristan called “Zarb-e-Azb.” 

Areas of Pakistan are traumatised, poor and are constantly threatened by extremism as it destabilises that region and the livelihoods of the citizens living there. For the One Million IDPs in Bannu now there are only three hospitals, all underequipped to deal with a population that has doubled since the influx of IDPs in mid-June. There is not enough shelter and diseases such as diahorrea, sun-stroke and dehydration are common amongst the IDPs, and children in particular. They need compassion and support from the Pakistani and world community.

Comprehensive Disaster Response Services (CDRS) is an organisation for disaster relief and has responded to multiple disasters in Pakistan providing much needed logistics and medical support services to affected communities, like Bannu. They provide quick and effective relief focusing on healthcare services employing personnel and volunteers who have extensive experience and in-depth understandings of the local conditions.

Myself and another intern from the Netherlands, Marloes, have been fortunate enough to be invited to volunteer in Bannu with CDRS in the next couple of weeks. It is an issue and organisation that we are both passionate about. We therefore ask our friends and family to help contribute some relief funds to these affected areas. The money will be put towards bottled water bottled water, hygiene kits (including toothbrushes, soap, hair comb, hand towels, feminine products), monetary donations, water coolers, hand fans, solar lights, and toys.

For more information or to make a donations please visit http://cdrspakistan.org/

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