THE donors' conference is over after the usual assurances of maximum financial and material support. All eyes are now riveted on the flash appeal by the UN for relief. The donors' conference has committed $22 million in aid. Pledges of $224 million had earlier been made by the US, Britain, Germany France and other EU members. Keeping in view what happened to the commitments made in the wake of the 2005 earthquake, the government will have to pursue the donors hard. It has also to approach the oil-rich Gulf states which have yet to commit any funds. The number of the IDPs has surpassed all guesstimates. At the start of the operation in Swat, the highest figure conceived was 1.5 million The figure has already been surpassed, and could double in days to come. After a statement by President Zardari indicating that the government would soon conduct a military operation in Waziristan, thousands of people from the Southern Agency have started to move to the adjoining areas, with the result that the government would soon be required to make arrangements for another wave of IDPs. While Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has expressed determination to root out the militants, intentions alone are not enough. The fate of the anti-insurgency operations depends a lot on the way the issue of the IDPs is handled. As things stand, both the Federal and the NWFP governments had to deal with a situation for which they were inadequately prepared. Camps had to be set up with meagre and largely untrained staff. Those coming from Swat and Buner were not used to the hot weather of the plains, but could not all be provided with fans and proper tents. There have been delays in registration and the delivery of relief. As noted by a five-member delegation of Senators in a letter to President Obama on Thursday, there are significant gaps in the basic assistance being provided to the IDPs and unless the crisis is adequately addressed, it could undermine the Pakistan government. A sizeable chunk of the population stranded in Northern Swat is facing a shortage of food and the only way to rush relief to them is through airdrops, which have yet not begun. What is needed on the part of the military high command is to complete their assignment at the earliest so that the IDPs can start returning to their homes. Instead of relying on foreign donors, there is a need to raise contributions from the country. With Senator Ishaq Dar making a personal contribution of Rs 50 million to the Punjab Government's fund, people expect other well-to-do businessmen and politicians across the divide to make even bigger contributions.