Between August 2008 and May 2009 more than 2 400 000 people fled the combats which occurred in several regions of the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP, newly called Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) and in the Pakistani tribal areas.
In August 2008, 500 000 people left the Bahaur, Mahmand and Swat districts to find shelter in the NWFP, mainly in the Pashawar, Charsadda, Mardan and Nowshera districts.
In May 2009, while displaced people of Bajaur, Mohmand and other tribal areas are still not able to go back home, a new stream of 2 000 000 people arrive. Less than 20% of those displaced are living in camps set-up by the government. Most of them, refusing to live in those conditions (overpopulation, promiscuity…), choose to find their own lodging (either in a rented or loaned accommodation, or in host families).
After years not dealing with the Taliban movement (locally called “Militants” and named “infidels”) the Pakistani Government, under pressure by the western Allies, launches a big military offensive. Unfortunately the population is caught in the middle of the struggle, successively suffering oppression and attack from militants, shelling from the army (causing important civilian losses), as well as curfews limiting their escape.
The International Community tries to minimize the humanitarian crisis in an anti-western context. In fact, many players (UN, USAID…) seem in favor of the nearby Afghan conflict, as the limit between interventionism and humanitarian assistance is not always clear…