Trócaire may be forced to end its emergency relief work in Pakistan in August if the agency doesnt secure more funding, it has warned.

Tr�caire Paul Healy (left) is working with partner agencies to respond to the needs of the displaced in Pakistan.

Trócaire Paul Healy (left) is working with partner agencies to respond to the needs of the displaced in Pakistan.

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Trócaire in Pakistan

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Trócaire may be forced to end its emergency relief work in Pakistan in August if the agency doesnt secure more funding, it has warned.

Pakistan is in the midst of the biggest humanitarian crisis the world has seen since the horrific days of the Rwandan genocide in the 1990s, the UN has claimed, but the worlds governments are not responding adequately.

Trócaire has warned that the regions hosting the millions of people forced to flee the conflict between the government of Pakistan and the Taliban will become a breeding ground for extremism if the world does not react now.

People are running for their lives, leaving all their possessions behind. They are seeking shelter in schools, in caves and in anywhere they will feel safe from the fighting, said Paul Healy of Trócaire in Haripur, Pakistan, where millions have fled.

If the worlds governments dont take this crisis seriously people will turn to extremism in frustration, he warned. There are literally people everywhere here. The equivalent of half the population of Ireland have been driven out of their family homes. More than 85 per cent of these displaced people are women and children, who are especially vulnerable. They have nowhere to turn.

The government is now offering people money to return to the Swat Valley, but people are afraid as they dont believe the fighting is over and they heard there are landmines on the access roads.

While the Pakistani government is urging people to return to the Swat Valley, it has opened up a new military offensive against the Taliban in Waziristan, near the Afghan border, where some 40,000 innocent civilians have already fled.

Trócaire, through funding from the Irish government and others, is currently spending over 350,000 in Pakistan, giving food, shelter and medical supplies to thousands. The agency is also concentrating on the security of women and children who are particularly vulnerable, providing health services for women and safe places for children to play. But unless more funds are forthcoming the agency may have to end its work by August, Paul Healy predicted.

The UN has compared the displacement crisis here to that of Rwanda during the genocide in 1994, he said. And yet the world doesnt seem to have noticed. A UN emergency appeal has raised only one third of its target from the worlds governments and most of those funds were received before the mass exodus in early May, he said. Aid agencies like us are trying to bridge the gap but its almost impossible. Unless we can secure more funds quickly we will have no choice but to end our support, just as the August monsoons are expected to see conditions worsen considerably.

Working Through Partnership

Trócaire is the official overseas development agency of the Catholic Church in Ireland.

One of the key features of Trócaire’s work is our partnership approach to development. We work with communities to identify their needs and then help them to devise solutions to satisfy those needs.

The beauty of this way of working is that local people drive the whole process. Solutions are not imposed on them. Tr�caire works in partnership within networks of development organisations and with local non-government organisations in order to carry out our work as effectively as possible.

During emergencies, Tr�caire works within networks of development organisations such as Caritas Internationalis, the international confederation of Catholic development agencies, and CIDSE, the alliance of 15 Catholic development organisations in Europe to maximise the co-ordination of responses in emergency situations.