The worst floods in 80 years pose life-threatening consequences to the people in Khyber Paktunkhwa, Balochistan, Azad Jammu Kashmir, Punjab, and Sindh. So far, an estimated three million people are affected; this figure could increase by another one million as the floods reach Sindh Province.
The floods have caused extensive damage to crops, livestock, and other food sources in the affected regions. As the holy month of Ramadan approaches the country is already experiencing pre-Ramadan increase in food prices further adding to the threat of food insecurity for the flood affected families. Without resources and without access to food, thousands of lives could be lost if food aid and shelter do not reach the affected communities within the coming days.
The death toll stands around 1,500; however, this figure is expected to increase in the coming days for several reasons. The affected populations face high risk of waterborne diseases while the damage to existing health services, inaccessibility to health services and medicines for stranded communities, and the threat of rapid spread of illnesses due to inadequate living conditions and lack of safe drinking water increase the health risks. Other deaths could occur as thousands of people face starvation because of extreme food shortages in the affected regions. Additional concerns exist in the province of Sindh where evacuation efforts are underway. The Sindh Provincial Disaster Management Authority reports that a majority of people in the danger zones do not want to voluntarily evacuate. Reasons include existing tribal feuds, fear of loss or theft of property, and lack of knowledge on how serious the floods are this year.
Portions of 10 link roads in Naseerabad Divison, Balochistan have been swept away by the torrential rains and flash floods affecting approximately 2500 villages. An estimated 0.1 million acres of agricultural land have been severely damaged linking Rebee Canal passing through Naseerabad.
Five districts in Punjab have been severely affected while the low-lying areas of Muzaffargarh, Dera Ghazi Khan, Layyah and Rajanpur have been inundated. Media sources shared that over 10.5 million cusecs of water passed by Rahim Yar Khan which started from the left bank of the Indus.
Seven districts in the province of Sindh face severe, ongoing flood threats especially the areas along the Indus. Measures have been taken to evacuate people from the threatened areas and an estimated 960,000 cusecs has passed Taunsa and is heading towards Kot Mithan. According to Sindh PDMA, two thousand villages are at risk of submersion. At present, nineteen out of twenty-three districts in the province are on high flood alert.
CWS-P/A’s Senior Project Officer, Saleem Dominic, describes activities in Balochistan, “We successfully carried out the distribution of 250 food packages yesterday. At present, there is heavy rainfall here in Naseerabad due to which we are not able to carry on our assessment activities today.” Saleem further adds, “The people have no place to go, they can not go home either because their houses have been destroyed or flooded with water.”
CWS-P/A is coordinating and working with partners in various districts of the affected regions in order to provide immediate relief aid including shelter items, food packages, and health services. Efforts continue to ensure that the distribution of relief goods complies with Sphere Standards while the entire quality and accountability team work with field staff, management, and partners to promote attention to quality and accountability in all aspects of the response.
In Kohistan, CWS-P/A and partners of the Royal Netherland Embassy supported project for earthquake affected population in Allai have already distributed 500 NFIs. Five hundred food packages will be distributed in Battagram starting August 7.
In Balochistan and D. I. Khan, 500 food packages are being distributed to the most vulnerable families. Distribution of 250 food packages in Sibi, Balochistan was completed yesterday while distribution of the remaining 250 food packages in underway in D. I. Khan. In Balochistan, the CWS-P/A and local partner teams are currently in Naseerabad for assessment for planned distribution of 1,000 food packages.
CWS-P/A’s health teams continue to treat hundreds of patients through its mobile health unit in Balakot District, providing free medicines and health education. Recently, CWS-P/A rehabilitated three basic health units in Swat District. These BHUs are all operational despite some damage from floods. The health team reports that there is a decrease in the number of patients visiting the BHUs because people from farther distances cannot access roads to reach the facilities. This causes great concern for the health team because of the imminent threat of waterborne diseases and disruption in the treatment of other illnesses.
Allan A. Calma
Disaster Management Program
Cell: +92 301 5801621
Cell: +92 332 5586134
Head of Communication
Cell: +92 302 5156273