According to the Red Cross, some 40,000 civilians remain in the Swat Valley, a month after the beginning of the Pakistani military’s massive offensive. Millions of civilians have fled the area, and many of them are living in heavily crowded, government-run camps.
Conditions are grim, according to representative Michael von Bergen. “Every time we entered a village, hundreds of people asked for help,” Bergen said. “Those who did not leave are now desperate. They need food, clean water and working medical facilities.”
The Pakistani military has said it expects the war to be over in a matter of days, but it has been making that claim for nearly two weeks now. In the meantime, the military is preventing civilians from returning home and as recently as this weekend dropped leaflets ordering more residents along the valley’s periphery to flee their homes.