Christian Group Feeds Nearly 150,000 in Pakistan's NWFP

One of the world's largest humanitarian organizations said it has helped feed nearly 150,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Pakistan's conflict-torn Northwest Frontier Province (NWFP).

World Vision is partnering with the World Food Program (WFP) to meet the immediate food needs of IDPs in the northwest area, according to a report Monday. They plan to provide 24,983 households in the region with wheat, pulses, vegetable oil, salt, sugar and tea until the end of the year.

The aid organization says the assistance is especially appreciated because of the global financial crisis, which has caused prices for staples such as wheat to be at an all-time high.

Since late April, the Pakistan government has been fighting Taliban militants who had taken over Swat Valley in northwest Pakistan. An estimated 2 million residents of Swat Valley and other areas in NWFP were displaced because of the fighting.

But recently, the Pakistani government said it was safe to return to Swat Valley and began to take people back to their homes by buses and trucks. However, fighting between the militants and the government continues.

On Monday, more than 20 people died in northwest Pakistan during a clash between the two sides, according to The Associated Press. Media agencies have noted that the continual fighting shows how frail security is in Swat Valley.

World Vision says it is working with other humanitarian agencies to see if food distribution is needed for those who return to their homes.