The Saudi Fund for Development (SFD) and the UN Refugee Agency on Monday launched a project to construct 325 two-room houses for the people of South Waziristan whose dwellings have been damaged during the military operation in the tribal areas.
The houses will be constructed for some of the most vulnerable returnees who are unable to rebuild their homes.
With financial support from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, a total of 1,025 houses will be built, worth $8 million in South Waziristan (SW), Kurram, Bajaur and Mohmand Agencies in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). It is expected that the project will be completed by the end of the year.
The agreement was signed in a ceremony that was attended by Chief Engineer Abdullah Al Shoaibi, Embassy of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Deputy Ambassador Mohammad Nafa Al Madani, Minister for States and Frontier Regions, Lt Gen (R) Abdul Qadir Baloch, and UNHCR’s Representative in Pakistan Neill Wright.
Speaking at the occasion, Wright said, “People’s lives in the tribal areas have been severely disrupted by security operations and they need help to rebuild and re-establish their lives. The needs of returnees are considerable and at a time when donor support is shrinking due to evolving emergencies across the globe. At such a critical juncture, this funding is highly appreciated. It will make a huge difference in providing solutions to the returnees.”
Since the start of security operations in 2008, over 45,000 people have been displaced from South Warizistan. The first phase of facilitated voluntary return to SW began in December 2010; since then some 11,899 displaced families have returned in nine phases whilst around 36,000 families remain displaced, residing mainly in Dera Ismail Khan, Tank and Peshawar.
Al Shoaibi added, “The custodian of the two holy mosques, King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz is concerned about the welfare of muslims around the world, especially in Pakistan, facing disaster and conflict. Therefore, the king always supports action to help the Pakistani people and this project is the one of many launched during the recent years through grants to UN Agencies such as UNHCR and Government Agencies such as ERRA. This assistance is accompanied by other type of financial assistance to help Pakistan in its development efforts.”
Commenting on the selection of beneficiaries he said, “We can see that these houses are being constructed for all kinds of families, especially those families without a male guardian. The selection was based purely upon the needs of those vulnerable families.”
This project is being followed closely by H.E. Eng. Yousef I. Al-Bassam, Vice Chairman and Managing Director of The Saudi Fund for Development to make certain that its beneficiaries can start living in these houses as soon as possible and without any delay.”
Hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced.