President of the International Federation of Red Cross Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), Tadateru Konoé, told a press conference today that the IFRC wants to extend its relief programming to include a second round of relief aid distribution.
Some 150,000 families are currently benefiting from Red Cross and Red Crescent relief aid, consisting of both food and non-food items. Close to one million men, women and children are also receiving emergency and/or transitional shelter in time for the oncoming winter.
“The IFRC, in partnership with the Pakistan Red Crescent Society, now hopes to conduct a second round of aid distribution to these families,” said Tadateru Konoé. “Winter is fast approaching and we are hoping to provide as many people as possible with more blankets to help them cope with the cold. But to do this, we need more money now.”
Mr. Konoé said the needs on the ground require a massive response from both local and international organisations. “It is not just about saving lives today,” Mr. Konoé said. “We also need to plan for people’s long term recovery tomorrow. But to achieve this we urgently need donors to step forward to support us. So far, 20 per cent of the affected population has returned home and the complexity of needs requires a well-coordinated and multi-faceted humanitarian response”.
37 National Societies are working together with the IFRC to support PRCS in the provision of food and non-food relief items to hundreds of thousands of men, women and children. “We are committed to continuing our support to the Pakistan Red Crescent Society in relief and rehabilitation of the victims,” said Konoé.
PRCS Chairperson Senator Nilofer Bakhtiar thanked the IFRC President for supporting them during natural disasters, be it the October 2005 earthquake, Balochistan floods, or the recent floods.
She said that the National Society response has been scaled up significantly to support hundreds of thousands of people with emergency relief, shelter, medical care and improved access to clean water and sanitation over the next six months across all flood affected areas. Bakhtiar said the Red Crescent has so far reached close to one million people with emergency relief aid.
PRCS staff and volunteers, including foreigners, are working round the clock to provide relief supplies to flood victims in 89 districts. To a question, Bakhtiar said that PRCS will live up to its motto “First to Reach, Last to Leave” and will fully take part in the recovery and rehabilitation phase.
“This recovery effort is going to take a lot longer than we had originally anticipated,” said Konoé. “I met families who are still digging out of the mud. This is difficult and time consuming. The physical challenges that need to be met to ensure farm land is once again arable, are daunting.”
The IFRC’s appeal target of CHF 75,852,261 (USD 72.5 mil or EUR 56.3 mil) is currently 73 per cent covered.