Documented by Gullali…………
Misery shedding from eyes………………
The boy was suffering from fever and was not able to speak properly when I met him. His eyes were full of fear. He is the son of a 26 years old women who is married as a second wife to an around 70 years old.
When the operation was started, he came down to Bannu on foot with his mother and 2 younger sisters, because they did not have money to pay for transportation. It took 2 days to reach Bannu. Their neighbors accompanied them along with their cattle.
According to his mother her husband is still staying in NWA and she does not know where his other wife is. She does not have her national identity card because women in NWA are not supposed to register themselves as citizens, hence she cannot prove to the authorities that she is an IDP from Waziristan and is eligible for assistance.
The woman was issued a receipt when she was entering Bannu via Saidgai check post. The date and particulars mentioned on the receipt corresponds to the story which she is telling, hence she was not lying. It was also mentioned on the receipt that she does not have her identity documents.
Queuing for three days in stifling season
There were more 500 people queuing outside the food distribution point in Bannu (which is a stadium) on July 13 and 14. These are the people who are officially registered with FATA Disaster Management Authority (FATA), and can access all kind of support provided by the government. Which is food items, non food items and cash.
I interviewed people and some of them were in this queue for the last 3 days. They stand here all day, sleep on the same ground in the night and when they are hungry they used to buy things from venders who sell edibles in the carts around them. The temperature was 37-38 degree centigrade and the sun was shining with full spirits. There is no shed to protect the people from the sunlight and they had to use their head covering (Chadars etc) to cover themselves and others in queue. But interestingly there was a medical camp inside the stadium to cure those who gets sun stroke or eyes problem because of heat.
Leading life in open air
The boy’s family used to keep cattle at home for livelihood. When the operation started they came down by foot to Bannu because vehicles were not available to transport their cattle.
The family consists of extended family members of 45 individuals and were never been out of their area. Therefore they do not have friends or families or other contacts in bannu to stay with. But even then they are not staying in camp, partially because they have to take care and provide for their cattle (and in camp they would not be able do it), and partially because they think camp is not culturally appropriate and safe for their women. Therefore they have occupied an open space in Bannu and have made sheds for them. They are registered IDPs and are getting food items but as they are staying on their own in an open space, they have to sleep either on bare ground or on a cloth on the ground. Nobody is providing tents and mates etc, because government thinks the people in need of shelter would live in tents.
The boy has just came to arrange some medicines for his sick buffalo and is facilitated by a help desk established by agricultural university. People are worried for the fodder for cattle because Bannu district doesn’t has the capacity to cater to all the cattle population which accompany the IDPs.