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Community World Service Asia, with the financial support of Christian Aid, has been working with flood-prone and affected communities in Thatta, Sindh since 2010. Along with utilizing our innovative Mobile Knowledge Resource Center to conduct interactive training workshops to support community members, teachers and students to become disaster resilient, we promote community ownership of disaster risk reduction initiatives through the formation of local level disaster management committees. These committees are essential to the active participation of communities in preparedness and mobilization in the event of a disaster, as well as building sustainability of the intervention. The committees carry out assessments of local risks and capacity to respond, as well as producing hazard maps and conducting evacuation drills.

On June 15th, members of the disaster management committee in Union Council Bijora, Thatta participated in an exposure visit to a neighboring village, Ali Muhammat Jat, to share their experiences of working to build community resilience to natural disasters.   The visit was an opportunity for both communities to identify good practices and areas in which they can learn from one another. The participants shared the importance of engaging and coordinating with community members in order to successfully identify needs and priorities, and effectively sensitize communities to important practices such as education and disaster preparedness. The committee in Ali Muhammad Jat, supported by Islamic Relief Pakistan, also shared their initiative of monitoring local news alerts to develop their own early warning system, which the committee members from UC Bijora found particularly interesting and useful.

Exposure visits like these enable the communities with whom we work to develop links with other groups, learn from them, and adapt relevant initiatives to strengthen their own practices. This also helps the committees which we establish in becoming self-sustaining and durable in the long-term.

Floods triggered by heavy monsoon rains continued to cause devastation in areas along the Chenab and other small rivers and tributaries placing lives and valuable assets of the people at risk. Due to these rains and flood related incidents, 11 people lost their lives in Rawalpindi so far.

In Jhang, due to the damaged protection bund, flood water has inundated several villages destroying the agriculture land and crops.

The already affected areas include Jhang, Layyay and Qadirabad. Due to the increase in the water level in the rivers, Khanewal, Muzaffargarh, Multan and Wazirabad are at high risk of flooding as well.

Emergency warnings have been released through loud speakers and the communities at higher risk have been advised to evacuate the area. The water level is continuously increasing in rivers and dams in different areas of the country including Punjab and the twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi. The Pakistan Metrological Department has predicted more rains in most parts of KPK and Punjab in the coming weeks.

Community World Service Asia is currently monitoring the situation. Its emergency response teams are prepared and will start emergency response activities if required as per their Monsoon Contingency Plan.

Contacts:
Allan A. Calma
Deputy Director
Disaster Management Program
Email: allan.calma@communityworldservice.asia
Cell: +92 301 5801621

Muhammad Fazal
Associate Director
Emergencies/DRR/Climate Change
Email: fazil.sardar@communityworldservice.asia
Cell: +92 332 5586134

Palwashay Arbab
Senior Communications Officer
Palwashay.arbab@communityworldservice.asia
Cell: +92 42 3586 5338

Sources:
www.dawn.com
www.express.com.pk

Picture: http://92newshd.tv

Flash floods caused by heavy monsoon rains killed at least 11 people including two children in different areas of Rawalpindi on Tuesday, July 7.

The flash floods swept away five people, of whom four drowned. There were reports of more casualties due to structural collapse and electrocution but the exact figure of these have not yet been confirmed.

The water surged into the houses and its level reached up to two feet in the surrounding areas. Terrified residents were seen sitting on rooftops as floodwaters gushed through the streets in localities of Rawalpindi.

A red alert has been issued for the Lai Nullah and the people living on the river banks have been advised to evacuate the areas.

A flood warning has also been issued for the Chinab River till 9th of July.

Further spells of monsoon rains are predicted to hit the affected regions again. Monsoon rains cause widespread casualties and damage to property every year in Pakistan.

Community World Service Asia is currently monitoring the situation. Its emergency response teams are prepared and will start emergency response activities if required.

To view the contingency plan for this emergency response, click here to download Monsoon Contingency Plan

Contacts:
Allan A. Calma
Deputy Director
Disaster Management Program
Email: allan.calma@communityworldservice.asia
Cell: +92 301 5801621

Muhammad Fazal
Associate Director
Emergencies/DRR/Climate Change
Email: fazil.sardar@communityworldservice.asia
Cell: +92 332 5586134

Palwashay Arbab
Senior Communications Officer
Email: palwashay.arbab@communityworldservice.asia
Ph: +92 42 3586 5338

Sources:
www.dawn.com
www.express.com.pk

The death toll of the heatwave affected individuals has risen to 1400 with more than 40,000 people suffering from heat exhaustion and strokes according to UNOCHA’s latest report. To respond to this growing crisis Community World Service Asia initiated an emergency heatwave response. In collaboration with its partners, Participatory Village Development Program (PVDP), Transformation and Reflection for Rural Development (TRD) and Society for Safe Environment and Welfare of Agrarians in Pakistan (SSEWA Pak) the response has completed its first week.

Heatwave rehabilitation centers in three different districts; Dadu, Mirpurkhas and Tharparkar of Sindh have been established and are running successfully. A number of consultation meetings were conducted with the government health departments in order to set up these relief centers.

Free medical consultations and medicines have been provided to 215 patients from the affected population under this response so far. Of the treated patients, 104 are men, 61 are women and 50 are children. Awareness raising activities on heatstroke orientation, its symptoms, treatment and prevention are also being conducted for the public sector paramedic staff and the visiting patients. The community members have been actively participating in these awareness sessions and the attendance is seen to have increased by the day.

As per the project plan, awareness sessions on building resiliency towards extreme weather are to be extended to village levels. Mobile health teams will conduct these sessions with the communities in other villages as well. Awareness about heatstroke prevention and extreme weather precautions will also be disseminated through text messages and interactive theaters.

Some of the affected areas in Sindh received its first surge of rain after a long drought last week but the showers were minimal. Thus, the drought and extreme heat spell is expected to continue in this part of the country. Medical specialists have started warning government departments about the possible spread of gastroenteritis amongst the affected communities in the coming days.

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Picture: www.dailypakistan.com.pk

Community World Service Asia is responding to the emergency crisis that has unfolded due to the heat wave that has hit Sind, Pakistan. High temperatures combined with the draining humidity has left people dehydrated and heat stroked. Electricity shortages, unavailability of drinking water and difficult access to hospitals has led to a death toll of more than a thousand people, which is escalating further by the day.

Claiming lives across southern Pakistan by the hour, this heat wave has caused the most casualties in Karachi, Hyderabad, Thatta, Badin, Kunri, Mirpur Khas, Mithi, Umerkot, Dadu and upper Sind. People living in rural Sindh are amongst the most vulnerable as the temperatures are higher here, hospitals are far flung and the awareness level on mitigating the impact of heat strokes is very low. These people have very limited access to clean drinking water and electricity.

The livestock of the hundreds of people affected by this heat wave in rural Sind is also suffering; animals are dying of extreme heat and lack of water. Crops are drying due to this drought-like situation. In short the entire ecosystem of these areas is being harmed. Awareness and trainings are required to equip these affected communities to respond to such extreme temperatures.

With the on-ground support of partners in Sind, Community World Service Asia has launched the implementation of the first phase of this emergency response in Mirpurkhas, Nagar Parker and Dadu district today. Emergency Heat Treatment Centres (EHTCs) have been set up in these areas to treat those suffering from heat exhaustion and strokes and to supply immediate clean drinking water to the affected communities.

This emergency response is planned to be implemented through a three pronged strategy; directly assisting the heat wave/heat stroked patients; minimizing the risks of those populations which are at threat, and to raise awareness on the symptoms and treatment of heat strokes. The first strategy is a short term response, but the latter two aim at achieving sustainable results.

It is reported that this extreme heat situation is going to persist for some time. It is also reported that lower Sind (including Karachi), the coastal areas, Mirpurkhas and some parts of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa are expected to receive moderate and scattered pre-monsoon rains until Thursday, along with dust storms.

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We are excited to announce that our application to the ACT Alliance has been formally approved. Community World Service Asia is now a proud ACT member. After going through a comprehensive application process, the ACT Alliance Governing Board approved our membership application in their meeting this May.

ACT Alliance is a coalition of more than 140 churches and affiliated organisations working together in over 140 countries to create positive and sustainable change in the lives of poor and marginalised people regardless of their religion, politics, gender, sexual orientation, race or nationality in keeping with the highest international codes and standards. The Alliance is supported by 25,000 staff from member organisations and mobilises about $1.5 billion for its work each year in three targeted areas: humanitarian aid; development; and advocacy. As an ACT member, Community World Service Asia strives to work for positive and sustainable change in the lives of people affected by poverty and injustice through coordinated and effective humanitarian, development, and advocacy work as defined by the Alliance’s united mission.

We would also like to take this opportunity to share that Community World Service Asia is the first ever local and regional organization to be a member of the ACT Pakistan Forum. To add further, we are also currently chairing the Pakistan Forum which makes us the first ever local chair in the country. ACT Pakistan Forum is a shared platform composed of Community World Service Asia, Diakonie Katastrophenhilfe (DKH) and Norwegian Church Aid (NCA) Pakistan, who are the members of ACT Alliance presently based in Pakistan and Christian Aid, Church of Sweden and ICCO Cooperation, who are supporting programs in Pakistan from abroad. The forum works with common interests defined broadly by their commitment to the mission, vision, and values of ACT Alliance in humanitarian disaster assistance.

The ACT Pakistan Forum is part of the ACT alliance and is not a separate entity which incorporates and reflects ACT policies and guidelines in its own operations. The Forum also provides input into the development of ACT Alliance policies and procedures.