Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
(Islamabad, 23 October 2012): Almost five million people have been affected by the 2012 flooding in southern Pakistan according to Government estimates – many of whom were still recovering from Pakistan’s unprecedented floods of 2010 and the severe 2011 flooding. In addition to the immediate response by the Government, the United Nations and its humanitarian partners distributing stocks throughout the affected areas, the United Nations’ Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) has allocated US$9.9 million (PKR 942.2 million) to provide water, food, shelter and healthcare to thousands of families devastated by this year’s floods in Pakistan.
“The Government of Pakistan, the UN and its partners have distributed thousands of food packages, shelters, water and medicines; yet peoples’ lives are still in jeopardy in flood-affected areas of Pakistan - many struck for a third time,” said Timo Pakkala, Humanitarian Coordinator in Pakistan. “We must not allow the floods crisis to become a forgotten emergency. The flood-affected populations are among the poorest and most vulnerable in Pakistan. More must be done to meet people’s immediate humanitarian needs – to help them recover and reduce vulnerability to similar calamities in the future,” added Pakkala.
The UN and humanitarian partners seek to initially reach flood-affected communities in the seven hardest-hit districts of Balochistan, Punjab and Sindh. Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) along with IOM, UN Habitat, UNHCR, WFP, FAO, UNICEF, WHO, and UNFPA are delivering assistance in support of Government-led flood relief and recovery efforts. These new funds aim to provide a total of 1.3 million flood-affected people, including nearly 33,000 people with emergency shelter materials, blankets and kitchen sets; close to 400,000 people with food; and over 580,000 people who face malaria, dengue and cholera, with emergency primary health care. CERF will also allow agencies to respond to critical water, sanitation and hygiene needs along with nutrition, education and protection in addition to helping families keep their livestock alive, and return to agricultural activities as soon as possible.
“Standing water poses public health risks in inundated areas. The most vulnerable families are living in temporary settlements along roadsides and in open spaces. People need life-saving humanitarian assistance to stop the suffering and to allow people to rebuild their lives and livelihoods,” said Lynn Hastings, Head of the Office for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) following a recent field mission, which saw floodwater spanning over 40 kilometres.
Pakistan is the fourth-largest recipient of CERF funding, at a total of US$154 million, with previous allocations including US$17 million earlier this year for the complex emergency in the north-western areas. The CERF was established by the United Nations General Assembly six years ago to make funding for humanitarian emergencies faster and more equitable. Since then, more than 120 Member States and dozens of private sector donors have pledged some US$2.3 billion to the Fund, which is managed by the UNOCHA. In the first six years of operation, CERF has allocated more than US$2.7 billion for humanitarian agencies operating in some 87 countries.