This last week of October marks three months since the devastating floods inundated the country. The loss remains incomprehensible especially for those who repeatedly witnessed a series of hardships over the past decade. As communities have done in the past, they will focus on restoring their livelihoods, and the humanitarian community’s most significant contribution will be its efforts to assist in livelihood restoration.
Lessons learned from previous disasters’ rehabilitation plans should be incorporated into current efforts. Even though the immediate needs for surviving the next few months in terms of food, shelter, and winter season remain unmet for thousands of families, humanitarian agencies must look at both short-term and long-term aims in order to provide the most efficient and sustainable solutions for livelihood restoration.
Livelihood initiatives that empower the affected communities with the ability to meet their immediate, basic needs as well as sustainable income generation are valuable. Providing quality seeds for the current planting season, reconstructing and upgrading damaged infrastructure with local resources, and providing skills training are a few examples. Timely restoration of transportation and communication infrastructure will also positively affect livelihood restoration. Quality standards should be met so that communities remain better equipped to deal with future disasters as well as improved income opportunities.
Humanitarian agencies possess a variety of expertise and through coordination are capable of comprehensively assisting affected communities with rehabilitation efforts. In addition to the essential restoration of income earning opportunities, efforts should also improve the standard of living. Emphasis on water and sanitation, health, and hygiene as well as education will greatly benefit the affected communities.
Three months have passed and media attention has also shifted away from the flood disaster; however, the people of Pakistan still need support in order to survive and overcome the challenges that have increased since the onset of the floods. Disasters are one instance where time alone cannot heal wounds. Concerted efforts and commitment, however, will make a difference in the lives of millions of people. This difference will not only last for today but for years to come; the efforts over the next few months will drastically improve and change the course of lives for the affected communities.
As of October 22, CWS-P/A distributed a total of 16,540 food packages amounting to 1,938 tons. The distribution benefits 91,200 individuals. In Swat, CWS-P/A distributed 1,260 food packages donated by the National Disaster Management Authority. A total of 7,840 non-food items have been distributed; total NFI distribution reaches 75,500 individuals. The organization has distributed 500 tents in Thatta and has distributed 3,840 non-food items in Khairpur, Sukkur, and Thatta.
CWS-P/A continues to provide health services through mobile health units and basic health units in Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. A total of ten mobile health units are operational in Mansehra, Kohistan, Swat, and D. I. Khan in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Khairpur in Sindh. In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa alone, the mobile health teams have provided more than 36,000 consultations. CWS-P/A’s health teams have conducted more than 1,300 health education sessions on issues related to personal hygiene, HIV and AIDS, skin infections, safe drinking water, sanitation, and local endemic diseases. These figures include three MHUs in D. I. Khan and three MHUs in Swat which are funded through EC funds. This same initiative includes six BHUs in Swat. As of September 15, CWS-P/A along with WHO initiated a Diarrhea Treatment Center which is fully operational.
Allan A. Calma
Disaster Management Program
Cell: +92 301 5801621
Cell: +92 332 5586134
Head of Communication
Cell: +92 302 5156273