ISLAMABAD - The internally displaced persons (IDPs) who have taken refuge in other cities after fleeing native areas due to the military operation in tribal areas are faced with a new problem after returning homes in terms of building their damaged houses on their own.

The problem is not severe for IDPs of Bara in Khyber Agency who can easily hire services of masons and managing construction materials from the nearby market of Peshawar but reconstructing a house in far-flung localities of South and North Waziristan has become a hectic task for the affected people who find nothing available in their militancy-hit tribal agencies.

The Fata Disaster Management Authority (FDMA) together with Fata Secretariat in Peshawar gives Rs400,000 per family as a one-time grant for constructing wholly damaged house and Rs160,000 as stipend for reconstruction of a partially damaged house.

Earlier this month when the government started process of repatriation of (IDPs) by sending back 5,444 displaced families comprising 40,000 individuals of South Waziristan Agency (SWA), the war-torn people on reaching Sararogha and Sarwakai, found nobody (masons and construction materials) to rebuild their damaged houses.

“When I reached my village, the stonemasons I knew were no more in sight. They too had taken refuge in other cities and had not yet returned. The store that would sell construction materials was flattened to ground,” Kalimullah Mehsud, who returned to his area after five years told The Nation on Sunday.

“We have to construct the houses using our own skills and constructing mud houses once again. Life in South Waziristan looks life we have returned to a land that has just witnessed a war,” he added.

Adnan Khan, a spokesperson for Fata Secretariat, informed The Nation that the government had initially pledged to construct the houses for IDPs by engaging private firms in the reconstruction of damaged houses but added it was a daunting task.

He said that the FDMA and Fata Secretariat decided to bear the cost of reconstruction of damaged houses by giving money to the affected families so that they themselves could build their homes.

The ongoing military operations has forced around 2.1 million individuals or 0.6 million families to flee their native towns in the tribal areas including North Waziristan, South Waziristan, Khyber Agency, Orakzai Agency and Kurram Agency who are either residing at registered camps or living in rented houses in other parts of the country.

According to officials, 70 percent of the IDPs have opted to arrange temporary shelters for themselves over registering themselves in government-managed camps in different cities.

The government says it would require over Rs90 billion to reconstruct damaged infrastructures in the areas where military operation has taken place, however, as the process of repatriation of IDPs has started, the affected people have to find help but to construct their abodes on their own.

IDPs whose houses have been flattened due to military operation have refused to return to their native areas and have purchased land in the host cities besides enrolling their children in schools.

Nasim Khan Wazir, who lives in Karak district of KP due to the military offensive in North Waziristan, told this reporter that he would prefer to live the rest of life in the host city instead of returning to his hometown which he said, would never see peaceful days.

“I have purchased land in Karak and established my business there. What will I do in North Waziristan? There is no surety that my children will remain safe in that hometown,” he said adding majority of the displaced people will prefer to stay in cities where they took temporary refuge.