Three months on from the devastating floods in Pakistan, high waters in the southern province of Sindh continue to prevent more than 1 million people from returning to their homes. In low-lying areas such as Dadu district, families remain trapped by stagnant flood water and require urgent support.
“In Pakistan, 13 per cent of the population is malnourished. The longer people remain in these conditions, the greater their vulnerability. We expect this figure to rise in flood-affected communities,” says Nelson Castano, flood operations coordinator with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC). “Even when people can return home, they will need humanitarian assistance for the next two years. This is not just in Sindh but across the country,” adds Castano.
In Sindh, 1 million people are still living in tented camps where access to adequate shelter, food and clean water is limited. The Pakistan Red Crescent Society (PRCS), with support from the IFRC, has already delivered emergency aid to 560,000 people, but more needs to be done.
“I have seen, with my own eyes, babies lying on newspapers with no covering in the scorching heat. The world needs to act,” says Senator Nilofer Bakhtiar, chairman of the Pakistan Red Crescent Society.
In Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK), most displaced families have now returned to their villages, only to find they have nothing to go home to. Water sources are contaminated, there is little access to basic services, their homes are severely damaged or destroyed, and there is no source of income to feed their families.
“Winter is fast approaching and we are doing what we can to ensure people have a warm place to sleep during the cold months ahead,” says Castano. The IFRC is supplying 10,000 families in the mountainous regions of KPK with emergency winterized shelter, including tools and materials required to rebuild homes.
The July floods decimated villages from one end of the country to the other, affecting an estimated 20 million people. More than 1.9 million houses and 5.5 million acres of arable farmland have been damaged or destroyed.