As many as 800,000 people were under the open skies during the Eid holiday this past weekend. As floodwaters have receded in the northern parts of the country, towns and villages in the southern provinces are still being submerged. The scale of this humanitarian tragedy is far impacting and the larger challenges are yet to begin.
An estimated seven million people will be homeless for quite some time according to recent predictions. Immediate relief is still needed while the approaching winter season, particularly in the northern areas, causes great concern. Dr. Qamar Zaman, CWS-P/A’s Medical Coordinator, worries about coping with rising disease challenges. He shares, “Snow begins as early as October in parts of the north. Winter is approaching, and with freezing temperatures, there are a greater number of cases of lower respiratory tract infection.”
During the flood emergency, CWS-P/A’s health team reports that acute respiratory infections are the second most common ailment; diarrhea is number one. Insufficient nutritional intake and food shortages will put more people, especially children and the elderly, at risk during the winter months. With close to 500,000 women expected to give birth within six months, proper facilities are required to provide mothers and newborns well-equipped health services and protection from the freezing temperatures.
Adequate shelter, blankets, warm clothes, and other winterization items to help the affected population survive the harsh winter are immediately required. For millions of people, the transition from homelessness and joblessness to recovery will begin in the midst of the winter season. In addition to meeting special winter needs, early recovery initiatives are also required so that families are able to start regaining their independence through restoration of livelihood and development of income earning opportunities.
CWS-P/A’s food and NFI distribution is ongoing. To date, 8,733 food packages, the equivalent of 1,222 tons, have been distributed. Completed and planned food distribution reaches 91,200 individuals. Distribution of 2,500 NFIs has taken place; completed and planned NFI distribution reaches 75,500 individuals. CWS-P/A plans to provide an additional 3,000 families with food and non-food items in Sukkur and Thatta. The organization is also planning for early recovery assistance through meeting health and livelihood needs. CWS-P/A identifies three early recovery Construction Trade Training Centers, similar to the initiative developed for recovery of the 2005 earthquake which will help build the capacity within communities for reconstruction. Without resources, farmers and owners of small shops will face a longer period of food insecurity. Similar to its food security initiative for IDPs, CWS-P/A plans to initiate cash for work, vouchers, and cash grants to help reestablish agricultural livelihood.
CWS-P/A continues its health efforts by providing preventive and curative treatment for flood affected families. At present 3 mobile health units are operational in the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa providing services in the districts of Swat, Kohistan, and Mansehra. Two additional mobile health units are planned in Khairpur and Sukkur in Sindh.
Allan A. Calma
Disaster Management Program
Cell: +92 301 5801621
Cell: +92 332 5586134
Head of Communication
Cell: +92 302 5156273