The predicament of the internally displaced families (IDPs) is nowhere close to ending as the FATA Disaster Management Authority (FDMA) has demanded 25,000 tents from the federal government for the IDPs returning to their homes. The vulnerable families will require immediate shelter from the biting cold and harsh weather as their houses are fully damaged and they lack the resources to rebuild them as soon as they go back.

The demand for the tents was made to the federal government after United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) expressed its inability to provide the number of tents required for the returning IDPs. Even though the repatriating IDPs are receiving Rs 35,000 cash assistance from the government along with six months food rations and set of non-food items, the people who have been displaced for so long are the responsibility of the state and not of the UNHCR, and they should be provided with all that they require to get through these harsh times.

The understaffed and under resourced FDMA had fulfilled their duty by dispatching over 14,000 displaced families to Kurram Agency in June but could only provide tents to 1,600 families, due to the lack of funding provided by the Federal government. The National Disaster Management Authority and the FDMA under them are army run institutions dealing with all emergency responses and humanitarian relief activities in the event of a disaster. The least that the government can do is to ensure that the bodies are provided with adequate funding and provisions.

The deadline for repatriation of 121,964 displaced families from FATA is fast approaching. The government had announced all IDPs would be sent to their homes by the end of December. But the ground realities for such an exodus are not favourable in the least especially in the harsh winter weather. The government needs to plan meticulously and ensure that the IDPs return with the dignity they deserve.