Relief, rehabilitation in Swat, Malakand to cost billions: UN

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Islamabad, July 11 (ANI): The rehabilitation and reconstruction work in the war ravaged Swat and Malakand Divisions would cost billions of dollars, the United Nations (UN) has said.

Talking to media persons at a press conference here, the UN Under-Secretary General and Emergency Relief Coordinator, John Holmes, said that it would require a mammoth effort from the Pakistan government to rehabilitate over two million people who have been rendered homeless due to the military operation in the North West Frontier Province (NWFP).

"As for rehabilitation and reconstruction, costs should be in billions of dollars for a year or so," Holmes said.

He said that the displaced people should not be forced to return to their homes in the Valley, and added that the conditions must be made favorable before asking them to return.

"We would like them to be able to return to their home as soon as possible, but the process has to be voluntary. They need to be involved in those choices, the conditions need to be right. That means the security needs to be right, the basic services need to be there," The Daily Times quoted Holmes, as saying.

Urging the international community to donate more funds for the relief work, he said it will take time before peace and normalcy returns to the region.

"The security situation is not going to be 100 percent calm in these areas overnight and we must recognize that," Holmes said. (ANI)

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