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Salvation Army helps the displaced in Pakistan

Pakistani authorities request Salvation Army assistance.

Salvation Army team members distribute bags of essential items. [Photo courtesy of International Headquarters]

The Salvation Army in Pakistan is providing vital assistance to families forced from their homes by fighting. As separatists and pro-Taliban militants fight government forces, many villages in Pakistan’s western border areas have been hit by violence. According to provincial government reports, hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced by the fighting; latest reports say that more than 1.9 million are registered as “internally displaced persons” (IDPs). They are living in schools, camps and with families in host communities—wherever they can find shelter.

Fatima, a girl of around 11 years old, is one of the almost two million IDPs. She used to live in the Swat Valley with her parents but as the violence increased Fatima’s family fled and traveled with large groups of IDPs searching for a safe place to stay. In the chaos that followed, Fatima and her parents became separated. After much searching and many struggles she found her uncle and she is now staying with him. She still has no idea where her parents are, but she clings to the hope that they are well and that she will find them again.

Because of The Salvation Army’s good reputation and previous experience in emergency response, the authorities in Pakistan requested its assistance with the huge problem of accommodation. Of the several IDP camps, The Salvation Army is now working in Mazadoor Camp. Salvationists working there met Fatima while distributing tents, basic cooking utensils, mats, pillows and quilts.

Nazir A. is also staying at the camp. He used to live in Malakand Division, where he had a grocery shop. His business was thriving but when the fighting broke out he had to leave everything behind. When he received bags containing cooking utensils he expressed his heartfelt gratitude.

The Salvation Army in Pakistan is working hard to assist people like Fatima, Nazir A. and the hundreds of thousands of others who need help. Team members are providing assistance with urgently needed essentials but their presence also gives people the knowledge that someone actually cares about them and that they are not forgotten.

Donations to the South Asia Disaster Fund can be made online at www.salvationarmy.org.


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