accessibility & help

Pakistan floods: emergency continues six months on

21 January 2011

Six months after the floods in Pakistan began, millions of people remain homeless and in need of emergency aid.

More than four million people are without adequate shelter and millions more are in need of food and other aid, with flood waters still engulfing large areas in Sindh province in the south.

“It is a miserable situation and a disaster which is continuing to unfold,” said Sir Nick Young, chief executive of the British Red Cross. “I visited Pakistan last week, and vast swathes of land are still flooded preventing people from returning home. Even when people can go back, conditions are desperate. Their houses, fields and livelihoods have been ruined.”

Red Cross support

Pakistan men receiving tins of ghee at aid distributionThe International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement has provided emergency relief, including food, shelter, clean water, cooking equipment and other items to more than 2.2 million people.

As part of that response, the British Red Cross has helped provide food for almost 500,000 people.

Its logistics teams have worked in Punjab and Sindh – two of the worst affected provinces – speeding the delivery of aid to those in need, and a sanitation team worked to set up toilets and washing facilities for 10,000 people in Sindh province.

Emergency needs continue

The floods destroyed 1.9 million homes, taking roofs from over the heads of a population larger than that of Greater London. The destruction also included 5.4 million acres of damaged farmland, leaving entire communities without a source of food or income. 

“The achievements so far have been huge, but this disaster affected 20 million people and millions are still in need of emergency support. No single agency or organisation can solve this alone,” said John English, British Red Cross country representative in Pakistan.

“People in Pakistan want to rebuild their livelihoods, but they need support to do it and this is where the British Red Cross will focus its efforts.”

Malnourished children

More than 70,000 children are estimated to be severely or moderately malnourished across affected provinces, and villages in the south remain surrounded by contaminated water, creating breeding grounds for waterborne diseases.

In the north, families are living through sub-zero conditions in the remnants of their homes. Many roads remain blocked or damaged, leaving villagers with no option but to walk for miles to seek help.

“The emergency is far from over,” John said. “Much more help will be needed for people to get back on their feet, and without that help, survivors will be forced further back into poverty, hunger and vulnerability.”

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