At least 360,000 displaced by north-west fighting, remaining civilians without services
14 May 2009, IDMC
Heavy fighting in several districts of north-west Pakistan, between government forces and Taleban militants, has caused hundreds of thousands of people to become internally displaced in less than two weeks. At least 360,000 people have fled Swat, Dir and Buner districts in May, bringing the total number of people displaced by hostilities in Pakistan since August 2008 to over 900,000.
Civilians who have been unable to leave the conflict area have been cut off from basic services. In Swat, where the February peace deal between the government and the Taleban looks increasingly fragile, the government issued an evacuation order on 5 May ahead of an offensive in the Taleban-dominated region, but not everyone has been willing or able to leave Swat.
Many civilians remain in the district in extremely difficult circumstances. In Mingora, the largest city in Swat, the district`s main hospital has been abandoned, and water and electricity have been cut off for days. Many people have reportedly fled into Upper Swat to stay with relatives in rural areas, only to find that heavy fighting is taking place there as well.