10 August 2010
Two weeks on from Pakistan’s worst floods in 80 years, severe rains continue and there are now more than 12 million people affected, according to the country’s National Disaster Management Authority.
Pete Garratt, British Red Cross disaster relief manager, said: “Only now, as assessments get underway, are we beginning to see the true extent of the disaster. It’s important we get as much support and raise as much money as possible, before the media attention moves on, as thousands of people will need help for some time to come.”
The weather forecast is causing further concern and persistent heavy rain in Pakistan's north-west is hampering efforts to restore essential infrastructure, slowing the delivery of relief and increasing the number of homeless.
Deadly landslides are increasing the isolation of many of the worst-hit areas. In the far north of the country, dozens of people were killed over the weekend when two villages were buried in mud and rocks in Gilgit-Baltistan province.
So far, the Pakistan Red Crescent Society, with support from the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, has distributed aid to more than 11,000 families. It has also treated some 15,000 people through its emergency health services.
The organisation continues to distribute food, bottled water, tents, shelter materials, kitchen sets and hygiene items. In some isolated areas, aid workers are using mules and travelling long distances on foot to deliver these relief goods.
Shelter and water needs
At least 1,600 people have already died and more than 270,000 houses are damaged. In the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, one of the worst-affected areas, 500,000 people are homeless.
Michele Ungaro, International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) water engineer based in Peshawar, said: "We are working with the Pakistan Red Crescent Society providing food, tents and shelter materials for people affected by the floods, but the continuing heavy rain means the demand for shelter continues to grow. We have deployed water engineers to several areas to pump water from buildings and to restore community water supplies."
Since water sources are contaminated in Dera Ismail Khan, one of the cities in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the ICRC is using purification equipment to render the water safe for drinking.
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