Family affected by the floods in Jaffarabad and Nasirabad districts in Balochistan. Credit: OCHA
The United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) has allocated US$9.9 million to help flood-hit communities in Pakistan’s Balochistan, Punjab and Sindh Provinces. Since August 2012, floods caused by heavy monsoon rains have affected 5 million people and destroyed over a million acres of crops and nearly half a million homes. Some 250,000 people have been forced from their homes and are living in camps.
“We must not allow the flood crisis to become a forgotten emergency,” said
Timo Pakkala, Humanitarian Coordinator in Pakistan. “People affected by the floods are among the poorest and most vulnerable in Pakistan. More must be done to meet their immediate needs and help them cope with future disasters.”
In recent years, floods have devastated the lives of millions of people across Pakistan. In 2010 alone, nearly 2,000 people died during the annual floods and an estimated 14 million people needed humanitarian assistance. Another 5 million people were affected by floods in Sindh in 2011. Many of the families that were hit this year were still recovering from previous floods.
UN agencies and non-governmental organizations will receive the CERF funding to support Government-led relief and recovery efforts. Millions of people are expected to receive food, water, shelter, blankets and emergency healthcare including malaria, dengue and cholera treatments. Aid organizations are concerned that more suitable shelter will be needed to keep people warm as winter draws on.
Some of the funding will allow the humanitarian community to provide livestock and agricultural support to farmers whose lands have been damaged. Although flood waters are slowly receding in some areas, hundreds of acres of land still remain under water.
“Standing water poses public health risks in inundated areas,” said Lynn Hastings, OCHA’s head of office in Pakistan. “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 be able to rebuild their lives and livelihoods.”
Pakistan is the fourth largest recipient of CERF funding since the fund was established six years ago to make sure urgently-needed financial support reaches aid organizations responding to emergencies more quickly. So far, CERF has allocated more than $154 million to emergencies in Pakistan, ranging from flood response to helping people affected by conflict in the northwest of the country.