Rediff.com
Print this article

Pakistan faces its worst refugee crisis since 1947

May 11, 2009 21:38 IST
Internally displaced children at the refugee camp

As Pakistan pushes ahead with its onslaught against the advancing Taliban militia in the country's northwest, thousands of residents in the region have been left homeless. Already, according to the UN estimates, over 360,000 people have escaped from the three-worse affected areas of Dir, Swat and Buner. They add that a humanitarian crisis is imminent as Pakistan is facing its worst refugee crisis since the partition of the subcontinent in 1947.

Image: Internally displaced children, fleeing a military offensive in the Swat valley, sit next to their water bowls after arriving in the back of a truck to the UNHCR Jalala camp (United Nations High Commission for Refugees) in Takht Bai village in the North West Frontier Province's Mardan district, 150 km (85 miles) north west of Pakistan's capital Islamabad.

Pakistan faces its worst refugee crisis since 1947

May 11, 2009 21:38 IST
The UNHCR Jalala camp
An internally displaced boy stands in line with men, fleeing a military offensive in the Swat valley, as they await a serving of tea and bread at the UNHCR Jalala camp (United Nations High Commission for Refugees) in Takht Bai village

Pakistan faces its worst refugee crisis since 1947

May 11, 2009 21:38 IST
The UNHCR Jalala camp
Internally displaced children, fleeing a military offensive in the Swat valley, collect water at the refugee camp.

Pakistan faces its worst refugee crisis since 1947

May 11, 2009 21:38 IST
The UNHCR Jalala camp
Children, fleeing from military operations in Buner in Swat district, try to get free food at a distribution centre. The struggle in the scenic northwestern Swat Valley has become a test of Pakistan's resolve to fight a growing Taliban insurgency that has alarmed the United States.

Pakistan faces its worst refugee crisis since 1947

May 11, 2009 21:38 IST
Thousands of people took advantage of a break in the curfew to flee from the region
People flee military operations in Dargahi, Malakand, near the Swat valley. Pakistani aircraft have been pounding Taliban positions in the Swat Valley.

Pakistan faces its worst refugee crisis since 1947

May 11, 2009 21:38 IST
The UNHCR Jalala camp
An internally displaced girl, fleeing military operations in Buner, rests on her tent at a UNHCR camp in Takht Bai.

Pakistan faces its worst refugee crisis since 1947

May 11, 2009 21:38 IST
People took advantage of a break in the curfew to flee from the region
Internally displaced people flee military operations in Dargahi, in Malakand, near the Swat Valley.

Pakistan faces its worst refugee crisis since 1947

May 11, 2009 21:38 IST
The UNHCR Jalala camp
Internally displaced persons, fleeing military operations in Buner, wait for tea at a UNHCR camp  in Mardan. Interior Minister Rehman Malik on Monday said that the hostilities would displace around 400,000 people and urged the world community to help the displaced persons.

Pakistan faces its worst refugee crisis since 1947

May 11, 2009 21:38 IST
The UNHCR Jalala camp
An internally displaced woman, fleeing a military offensive in the Swat Valley, cleans herself outside of her tent at the UNHCR Jalala camp in Takht Bai village.

Pakistan faces its worst refugee crisis since 1947

May 11, 2009 21:38 IST
Thousands took advantage of a break in the curfew to flee from the region
Civilians pack a vehicle from Malakand district towards Mardan as they flee a military offensive in Pakistan's North West Frontier Province.