Millions remain vulnerable to flooding and hunger

Published: 27 July 2011
Mohammad Iqbal checks for a level line during the construction of a house in Sindh, Pakistan. Mohammad Usman/IFRC/p-PAK1771

Islamabad, Pakistan – One year after unprecedented monsoon floods swept through Pakistan, millions of people continue to live in makeshift shelters; vulnerable and exposed to the threat of further flooding during the current monsoon season.

“Many families have not yet had the chance to rebuild their homes,” says Nilofar Bakhtiar, chair of the Pakistan Red Crescent Society (PRCS). “It will not take a lot of rain this year to leave them in a very precarious situation.”

Last year’s floods hit the poorest of the poor and had a devastating impact on the economy. The cost of bricks quadrupled, making it impossible for flood survivors to effectively rebuild their homes. Families instead scraped together what materials they could salvage, piecing together rudimentary shelters that offer little protection against the harsh Pakistan climate.

The PRCS and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) remain committed to helping people get back on their feet. Our long-term recovery programme, which will continue for at least another year, will provide cash grants to 11,500 families to help them rebuild their homes. They will also receive technical expertise to ensure the homes are constructed to withstand future disasters.

Even with improved shelter, the inability to earn an income will continue to mean an uncertain future for millions of Pakistanis. Food prices continue to rise, and acres of farmland remain unusable. Villagers themselves say that while they appreciate food donations, what they really need is to be able to generate their own income.

“Food insecurity and malnutrition due to the lack of vitamin-rich and nutritious foods are real threats to life, particularly to children and women,” says Bakhtiar. “Failure to effectively respond could result in another humanitarian crisis in communities that are still feeling the devastating effects of last year’s floods.”

To date, the Red Cross Red Crescent has reached more than 617,000 people through the distribution of seeds and fertilizer, and thousands of families have received technical training to improve the yield of their crops.

Many villagers have received cash grants to help them re-establish their livelihoods through activities such as tailoring, transportation, grocery sales, food carts and handicrafts. A further 5,000 families will receive similar grants in the near future, giving them the opportunity to prepare for further flooding this monsoon season.

 

For further information:

Islamabad:
Kathy Mueller, communications delegate, Pakistan
+92 308 520 4999 ¦ katherine.mueller@ifrc.org

Kuala Lumpur:
Reeni Amin Chua, communications officer, Asia Pacific
+60 12 230 8451 ¦ reeni.aminchua@ifrc.org

Geneva:
Sadia Kaenzig, senior communications officer
+41 22 730 4455 ¦ sadia.kaenzig@ifrc.org
Available for interviews in English, French and Arabic


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Pakistan: one year on

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