During her meeting in Islamabad with Pakistani Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani today, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pledged $56 million in additional American support for internally displaced persons in Pakistan. The funds will support the Government of Pakistan’s humanitarian relief and early recovery efforts in the Northwest Frontier Province (NWFP) and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA).
Of the total pledge, $25 million will be used to help returning refugees in the Buner, Swat, and Lower Dir districts in the NWFP. The U.S. is supporting early recovery programs that cover the basic needs of returnees in the six to nine months in the immediate aftermath of their return, with the ultimate goal of transitioning short-term emergency interventions to long-term development programming.
Twenty-one million dollars of the pledge will be directed through the U.N. World Food Programme to address a shortfall in funding for operations in Pakistan. The U.N. World Food Programme provides essential food assistance to many of Pakistan’s internally displaced people. During the past two years, the United States has provided nearly $158 million in food assistance to Pakistan.
Also included in this pledge is $10 million for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to assist Pakistanis newly displaced by the conflict in North and South Waziristan and to provide winterization support for longer-term displaced civilians in the Malakand Division. To date, the Pakistani government has registered more than 133,000 Pakistanis displaced from South and North Waziristan, more than 50,000 of whom were forced to flee in the last two weeks alone. With the onset of winter, it is crucial that the international community act now to address the acute needs of the recently displaced.
The United States provided over $281 million in humanitarian assistance to Pakistan during the past two years.