If one can summarize the situation on IDPs as it stands today; 1. The scale of displacement (any thing between 2 and 2.5 million people ) is so large and its associated demands of accommodation, food, health, and other basic needs so great in volume and spread that it is simply beyond the government's capacity to handle. 2. Some 80-90 percent of the displaced persons are sheltered at places other than the formal camps set up by the government. These are those who received no support and are facing the greatest hardship. 3. The few who are accommodated in camps have started to receive basic support and services. 4. The condition of the large majority sheltered in schools, Hujras or accommodated by locals in their small homes is absolutely pathetic. The focus of aid and attention needs to be urgently shifted to this category. 5. There is enough food and support material that is forthcoming. Its distribution and management is inefficient and unfair. Some of this stuff is already on sale in the local market. 6. The visits of VIPs are unwelcome and a cause of great nuisance. The VIPs are only interested in photographs and media coverage. They stop the traffic, and the entire camp management shifts its focus from its basic job to showing the VIPs a miniscule portion of the relief effort. (while the real problem lies elsewhere.) 7. Unless we shift attention to the 80% displaced persons who have received no aid so far, we shall not just lose this battle of hearts and minds but also breed anger and hostility amongst a very large population. 8. The logistics of such a large-scale operation requires very high professional management skills. Political speeches and slogans run out of their shelf life in the first few days. We need to request professors from places like LUMS and IBA to go down to Mardan and put into practice what they teach their students. -NAEEM SADIQ, via e-mail, May 24.