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Pakistan flood update

Pakistan flood update

Update on the Emergency Programme for Flood Relief in Pakistan by Souriya Anwar, President of SOS Children's Villages Pakistan, 14 December 2010

Even though the flood situation has largely stabilized, several districts in Sindh and Balochistan that are still inundated. The water level ranges between 0.5 to 2.5 feet and, since it has nowhere to go, now awaits gradual evaporation. This naturally exacerbates the problem of communication and hinders relief efforts in those areas.

However, overall it is estimated that approximately 75% of the displaced persons have been able to return to their villages. This is a huge achievement as one considers the enormity of the challenge of almost 20 million homeless. Their return to their lands is another dilemma. Most of the affected people are extremely poor - they have lost everything, including their homes and, for those fortunate enough to possess crops and cattle, that too has been lost.

The extent of the damage caused by the calamity cannot be fully quantified but as the recovery phase starts, there are large-scale efforts to provide shelter support. A multitude of agencies are participating in the activity, which has become even more urgent, as temperatures are dropping all over the country. The major drawback remains under funding, with the shortfall in the shelter requirement, estimated at 80%.

Through the generous support of the PSAs the distribution of food packages continues. This activity has been intentionally slowed down because we are seeking out those areas where food shortages genuinely exist and access is still a problem. The affected people will require food support through the winter months, and we are prioritizing the most vulnerable communities.  We are now collecting data on relief and reconstruction measures and have submitted a proposal for participating in this critical phase of rehabilitation. We are awaiting approval so that SOS Children's Villages can continue with this intervention also.

There is also an urgent need for blankets, quilts and warm clothing. Many agencies are involved in distribution, but we are not participating in this activity and are confining our input to food and drugs. If, however, any donor wishes to specifically supply these items they can quite easily be procured and distributed. We did provide large consignments of medicines and some tents. It is most fortunate that there has been no outbreak of any epidemic.

The holiday season is upon us and, from all of us associated with SOS Children’s Villages Pakistan, I would like to convey greetings and very best wishes to all those who are supporting us in this hour of need. The generosity of so many people in faraway lands is touching and, indeed, overwhelming.

Thank you for your concern. May God bless you all.

Souriya Anwar
President SOS Children's Villages Pakistan