16 August 2010
The Red Cross will increase its relief operation in Pakistan five-fold, to reach more than two million people with aid in the coming months.
Severe flooding in Pakistan has now affected around 14 million people, with nearly 900,000 homes damaged or destroyed. As much as 50 per cent of the country has been inundated with floodwater, causing loss of crops and livestock.
Monsoon rains could continue for another month, worsening the existing flooding and affecting new areas, particularly in the south of the country.
Damage to infrastructure and the ongoing bad weather continue to hamper relief efforts, with more than 100 bridges in the Upper Dir and Swat regions destroyed. Major landslides are also blocking road access to some affected regions, particularly in Pakistan-administered Kashmir.
Originally planning to reach around 350,000 people with relief, the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement is responding to the deteriorating situation by revising that figure massively upward to 2.1 million people.
Senator Nilofer Bakhtiar, chairperson of the Pakistan Red Crescent Society said: “The time to act is now – this is a disaster of unimaginable proportions. We are scaling up our response significantly together with Red Cross and Red Crescent partners from around the world.”
Working on the ground since the disaster began, the Pakistan Red Crescent has distributed relief to more than 250,000 people, across seven provinces.
Food being distributed includes rice, ghee, sugar, salt and tea. Other items include blankets, tents, tarpaulins, kitchen sets, hygiene kits, jerry cans and stoves.
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and the International Committee of the Red Cross are supporting it, as well as co-ordinating aid from overseas.
The British Red Cross has contributed large amounts of goods to the relief effort, including 25,000 blankets, 9,000 tarpaulins, 6,000 mosquito nets and 6,000 jerry cans.
Its Pakistan Floods Appeal has raised more than £1.3 million to date, but more is desperately needed.