Published: 2 August 2010
As the north-western provinces of Pakistan continue to suffer from the effects of severe flooding caused by torrential monsoon rains, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) has launched a preliminary international appeal for 17,008,050 Swiss francs (16,333,000 US dollars or 12,514,600 euros) in support of emergency relief activities undertaken by the Pakistan Red Crescent Society. The IFRC appeal will enable the Red Crescent relief operation to reach 25,000 families (175,000 people) in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab and Sindh provinces, as well as part of North West Frontier Province. Assistance will also be channelled to Red Crescent medical teams who are on the ground treating a range of ailments including injuries, skin infections and respiratory problems.
According to official sources, 2.5 million people have been affected by the floods. The situation for thousands of people who have lost homes, livelihoods and possessions remains precarious and relief efforts must be scaled up to meet the growing humanitarian needs. Many affected communities have still not been reached and further rains are forecast in the coming days.
“The next week is critical. With further heavy rains there is a real danger that the flooding will spread further south into Sindh province,” explains Mr Ateeb Siddiqui, Director of Operations with the Pakistan Red Crescent Society. “As well as increasing distributions of food and shelter materials, the Red Crescent is working to reduce the public health risks posed by the flooding. Thousands of people are living in miserable conditions. Providing clean water and sanitation is an absolute priority if we are to avert a public health disaster,” adds Mr Siddiqui.
Since the flooding first began in Baluchistan province more than ten days ago, the Red Crescent has been distributing food and other relief items such as tents, tarpaulins, blankets and cooking stoves to families across the worst affected districts of Pakistan’s five flood-stricken provinces. Many of these families have been forced from their homes and have been left with no means of support.
In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, the flooding is being reported as the worst in living memory. More than 800 people are believed to have died and with road links severed and many bridges collapsed, the Red Crescent is making every effort to bring relief supplies to people in areas that remain cut off.