Footprints of Disaster: Millions still struggling to survive!

Footprints of Disaster: Millions still struggling to survive!

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Islamabad, Pakistan, May 21, 2012

A year after one of the worst natural disasters to hit Pakistan, millions are still in dire need of humanitarian assistance in the flood-affected areas. The floods of 2010 and then 2011 caused massive devastation in various parts of southern Pakistan; however the humanitarian community in Pakistan and the Pakistani government are working rigorously on recovering the livelihoods and reconstructing the lives and homes of the many survivors.

As a result, CWS is launching an early recovery appeal, in collaboration with the UN and the Pakistani government, requesting the donor community at large to donate generously and dig deeper into their pockets for the restoration of livelihoods, support for food security, basic social services, shelter, community infrastructure, health, nutrition, water and sanitation.

With millions still struggling to survive in parts of the affected regions of the 2011 floods and with scarce funding from the international community at large, those affected people are short on basic amenities, shelter and civic attention. That has put them at serious risk of malnutrition, disease and deepening poverty. These communities are growing impatient and are becoming irate over the modest attention they have received from the state and from aid agencies. While the aid community has provided survivors with relief items and is assisting them in their rehabilitation and recovery, the needs exceed what aid agencies have so far been able to provide, with low funding being a real problem. As a result, survivors are becoming increasingly vulnerable to speculative outlets that are not to their benefit or to the community at large.

Moreover, in some cases support for recovery and rehabilitation seems to be coming to an abrupt end. Women, children, the elderly and disabled are particularly susceptible to health and sanitations problems and meticulous attention needs to be given to what they need for basic recuperation. But such notice and assistance in recovery requires consistent support from the government and aid organizations.

With Pakistan’s long summer on its way, increasing fears of disease outbreaks are arising. Also, the probability of more floods during the monsoon season this year is high. This leads to an urgent need for fully-equipped ambulances, mobile hospitals as well as vital food, water, sanitation and shelter if the country is to avert a greater humanitarian catastrophe.

The framework for the early recovery appeal aims to support communities by “engaging in planning and exploring solutions to reduce the devastating impact of the 2011 floods, and helping communities to quickly return to their normal life patterns while adopting measures for safer and more resilient living with better preparation to meet the event of a disaster,” stated the Finance ministry of Pakistan. Hence the global community needs to put more resources into aid projects and must not hesitate to contribute in rebuilding the lives of these unfortunate people in Pakistan as it is for the greater good of humanity.

According to reports by Oxfam International, the aid comparison per beneficiary between the Haiti Earthquake (2008 & 2010) and the Pakistan Floods 2010-11 showed clear variations between the two calamities as regards to per capita aid received for its survivors. The Haiti earthquake received USD $495 m per capita aid, while the Floods 2011 in Pakistan received as little as USD $1.3m per capita aid.

We, as part of the humanitarian community felt obliged to share these figures as a reminder to the donors and the government that much more is needed for the aid of the flood affected people. The government of Pakistan needs to facilitate the humanitarian community with granting visas, MoUs and NOCs for the quick recovery of the floods survivors by building policies and regulations to help assist the work of the national and international aid community in Pakistan.

The Regional Representative of Church World Service- Asia/Pacific and ACT Alliance urges the donor community for further support and the government of Pakistan for providing their full assistance in visa processes and in granting of MoUs and NOCs.

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