NGOs underfunded in Pakistan tribal areas

A child at a camp for internally displaced people in Pakistan. Photo by: S. Rich / UNHCR

Humanitarian groups need $366 million in funding to continue providing assistance to displaced people in northwestern Pakistan, where renewed tribal clashes in the Tirah Valley has led to the displacement of an additional 40,000 people in mid-March.

Funding is an “enduring challenge” for many aid groups working in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), said Dan Teng’O, spokesperson for the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Pakistan.

Teng’O explained that the $366 million figure is based on an estimate by humanitarian groups providing relief in the region.

At present, only $64 million are available to continue humanitarian operations, a measly sum against a growing humanitarian emergency in Pakistan.

Aid groups are trying on their own to engage donors to provide additional funds, but Pakistan has yet to appeal for help from the international community.

“That request has not been made,” according to the spokesperson.

$366 million will cover what OCHA calls a “complex emergency” in the two areas, not just the current displacement.

“We do appeal to donors to provide funds by engaging with donors. Last year, we also didn’t have an [official] appeal, but we’ve been in touch with donors, and they were able to provide 76 percent of the funds needed,” noted Teng’O.

“We hope they will remain generous and continue supporting our activities,” he added.

The United States and the International Development Association, the anti-poverty arm of the World Bank, are some of the top donors to Pakistan, according to 2011 data by the Development Assistance Committee of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Food, shelter, health care, water and protection are urgently needed. International nongovernmental organizations and U.N. agencies have agreed to provide a month worth of food rations and non-food items to the newly displaced people, including in the Jalozai, New Durrani and Togh Sarai camps.

The spokesperson said the government has already taken steps to improve the security situation, particularly in Jalozai camp, where an explosion on March 21 left 17 people dead and led several U.N. agencies and international nongovernmental organizations to suspend operations. For instance, access and exit points have been reinforced in the camp.

Read more development aid news online, and subscribe to The Development Newswire to receive top international development headlines from the world’s leading donors, news sources and opinion leaders — emailed to you FREE every business day.

About the author

  • Jenny Lei Ravelo

    Jenny Lei Ravelo is a Devex Senior Reporter based in Manila. She covers global health, with a particular focus on the World Health Organization, and other development and humanitarian aid trends in Asia Pacific. Prior to Devex, she wrote for ABS-CBN, one of the largest broadcasting networks in the Philippines, and was a copy editor for various international scientific journals. She received her journalism degree from the University of Santo Tomas.