United States President Barack Obama is sending a team of officials led by Richard Holbrooke, his special envoy for Pakistan and Afghanistan, to visit refugee camps housing lakhs of people who have been displaced by the military offensive in Swat and adjoining areas of the North West Frontier Province.
Leading a team of officials from various wings of the Obama administration, including the State Department and the Pentagon, Holbrooke is expected to have a first hand assessment of the situation and then recommend how best the US can accelerate relief measures, informed sources said.
As of now, there is no plan for Holbrooke to either visit Kabul or New Delhi, but things could change as the tour progresses, diplomatic sources said. Given that the military action has been carried out at the US' instance despite initial resistance by Pakistan, the Obama administration considers itself duty bound to mobilise international support to speed up relief process for the nearly three million displaced, officials said.
The United Nations has appealed for $543 million to help those uprooted by the fighting between government forces and militants in the North West Frontier Province since May 2.
According to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, about ten per cent of the internally displaced persons are living in camps and the rest are staying with friends or in communal buildings, such as schools.