The recent monsoon rainfalls combined with flash foods have left thousands of people displaced in the three provinces of Pakistan. The Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) in Khyber Paktunkhwa recorded 500,600 displacements in the province with 774 reported deaths. While in Balochistan the reported figures have been 19 deaths with 3900 damaged houses in the surrounding districts of Sibi, Barkhan, Kohlu, and Naseerabad. Hundreds of villages in Punjab have been devastated with extensive damage to crops in D. I. Khan.
The district government officials have stated that the flood water is also touching the Indus Highway at many points in the district and that it is clear that they alone are unable to cope with flood-related problems.
Sixty to seventy percent of Sindh Province is expected to be affected by flooding of the Indus River with flood levels ranging from low to high. The water levels are already rising and at least 266 villages are affected.
Many people have been missing in the torrential rains and land sliding in Azad Jammu and Kashmir with seven reported deaths. A total of 25 out of 28 bridges have been damaged where as villages along Swat River from Shangla to Batkhela have been destroyed.
Communication and roadways continue to be blocked due to ongoing rain and flood waters. CWS-P/A staff members in the affected areas report an ever-increasing need for aid. Communities wait for the rains to stop and water to recede so that much needed goods, particularly food, can reach them. Tassaduq Hussain, CWS-P/A Senior Project Officer, describes the situation in Banna, Allai Tehsil, “There is no communication or passable roads to elevated areas of Allai. We are unable to move from Banna so distribution is taking place in our consortium partner for PRDA, Save the Children US’s office. Here, there is major food shortage in markets, and the condition for the people is not good. The hope is that the rains stop and some roads will be reopened tomorrow. The most immediate needs are NFIs, shelter, and especially food packages.” Similar reports come from Sibi, Balochistan, from where Saleem Dominic, CWS-P/A Senior Project Officer, shares, “Food is the initial, immediate need with hygiene and shelter next. Houses are completely destroyed and flood water remains in the houses which poses health risks. CWS-P/A is the first organization to distribute food in this area for which the people are very grateful. People also express disappointment in the government for not providing needed assistance.”
Health risks are a major concern throughout the affected regions. In Mansehra, the CWS-P/A health team reports that common complaints are diarrhea, skin infections, and respiratory tract infections but also notes the importance of educating the population on water borne diseases. In Balakot Tehsil, Mansehra, the government lacks sufficient capacity to meet health needs because the Tehsil Headquarter Hospital was washed away during recent floods and requested CWS-P/A to provide services. This issue is not isolated to this area; flood affected regions also need medical supplies and services.
Much emphasis has been given to the two provinces of Khyber Paktunkhwa and Punjab while little has been done in the reopening of roads in Balochistan. The local residents of the province remain in a state of shock as the Federal Government announced no substantial relief plan for the flood affected population according to media sources.
- CWS-P/A team together with its local partners has started distribution of one-month food package as per Sphere Standards and shelter material (plastic sheets) for temporary tenting in Sultan Kot, Talli Union Council, District Sibi, Balochistan. In D. I. Khan owing to challenges in transporting the material, the distribution will start tomorrow.
- One mobile health unit is providing emergency health assistance in Mansehra. The mobile health team has treated hundreds of patients so far of which approximately 80% are women and children. Free medicine is available through the mobile health unit. The health team has also started providing health education on prevention of water borne diseases such as cholera, typhoid, polio, and hepatitis. Two more mobile health units to cover areas such as Kohistan, Swat, and Balakot are also being planned.
- CWS-P/A teams together with local partners have started assessment and beneficiary selection process for emergency response in Kohistan, Sibi, D. I. Khan, Swat, and Balakot-Mansehra.
- Upon the request of District Health Department, CWS-P/A Swat health team has started providing emergency health services to the flood affected people in government health facilities.
- CWS-P/A is taking lead on promoting quality and accountability at the national level. Planned activities include advocacy and information facilitation centers at field level through local partners. CWS-P/A has planned 10 introductory workshops for humanitarian organizations on Sphere Standards and HAP in different cities of Pakistan to ensure quality and accountability in humanitarian response for the flood affected people of Pakistan. CWS-P/A, under PRDA, has started distribution of shelter material (plastic sheets) and started procurement of food packages for 500 flood affected families of Allai, Battagram District, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province.
Allan A. Calma
Disaster Management Program