Pakistan faces refugee crisis

By May 12, 2009

Pakistan (MNN) — As Pakistan
continues its press on the Taliban, thousands are fleeing the Swat Valley. A brief lull in the violence over the weekend
saw many people loading their families and possessions into anything that moved in order to leave the
area.

A "peace" pact with the Taliban broke
down 11 days ago when security forces began an assault to push the militants
back into their territory. The rebels,
well-established in their stronghold, had begun to encroach upon Islamabad in a
blatant grab for land and power.

The result when the two forces
met was volatile. The government is now preparing
for up to 500,000 internal refugees, the largest displacement crisis in
Pakistan's history.

Even when the refugees arrive at
refugee camps, it's not a guarantee of safety or comfort. Jacob Kramer is with the Christian Reformed
World Relief Committee.
He says,"These camps are now full. New places will have to be made in order to
help them and have an opportunity to distribute the most essential things to
maintain life." 

It's hot, overcrowded, and there
are inadequate sanitation facilities as well as a lack of electricity. Add to that: diseases and a lack of medical
help, and the situation deteriorates quickly.
Kramer says their teams are mobilizing. "We've been in contact with our
partners, and they are trying to get a more detailed picture so that we can
start with food and non-food responses to help the people." 

CRWRC reaches out in God's name
to people who are struggling with poverty, hunger, disaster, and injustice to
help them find lasting ways to improve their lives.

The teams are the
hands and feet of Christ in this horrific situation. Kramer urges people to "pray for the people, that God's grace may
abide with them and peace may return as soon as possible. This is a
population which has been tormented from so many sides, so often, that they are
highly-affected by trauma."

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