Pakistan: One year after catastrophic floods, thousands still affected

Pakistan: One year after catastrophic floods, thousands still affected

Islamabad: Twelve months after the devastating floods, thousands continue a daily struggle to support their families and re-establish livelihoods.

The first anniversary of the floods is a painful reminder of how long and difficult the recovery is turning out to be.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Pakistan Red Crescent Society continue to work together to assist families whose land has only recently been replanted for the first time. Emergency relief distributions continue to the most vulnerable communities around Jacobabad, in northern Sindh, as subsistence farmers await the germination of their first post-flood rice crop, planted with ICRC seed and fertilizer.

The anniversary of the catastrophic floods also marks the onset of the new monsoon season. As some 2010 victims struggle to recover their lives and livelihoods, others now worry that changing world weather patterns will cause renewed flooding. In 2011, with an expanded volunteer base, a stronger and more capable Pakistan Red Crescent, supported by the ICRC, will continue to assist victims of calamity, whether caused by recurrent natural disasters or the fighting that grips many parts of the country.

“We’ve been assisting vulnerable Pakistani communities for six decades, through all major wars and natural disasters. By our actions, the ICRC has made it clear that we are committed to our strictly humanitarian work in Pakistan, principally by supporting fighting-affected communities in the north-west and Balochistan, but also in support of communities affected by natural disasters,” said André Paquet, the acting head of the ICRC delegation in Pakistan. “Our close partnership with the Pakistan Red Crescent is stronger than ever, and we are prepared to do our share in the event of another flood catastrophe.”

With almost 2,000 killed and 11 million made homeless, the devastating floods that began in July 2010 inflicted catastrophic damage on a country already reeling from the effects of fighting. “While the 2010 floods claimed fewer lives than the disastrous Kashmir earthquake of 2005, many observers considered the devastation caused by the floods to be on a similar scale,” said Mr Paquet.

In partnership with the Pakistan Red Crescent, the ICRC assisted more than two million people during the floods – making the ICRC’s operation in Pakistan its biggest in the world last year in terms of the number of people receiving aid. The ICRC reached flood victims in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan, Sindh and the Punjab with food, clean water, emergency shelter and medical services. As floodwaters receded, the ICRC provided seed, farm machinery, basic tools and fertilizer for more than 600,000 farmers throughout Pakistan to enable them to restore farm incomes.

Throughout the flood relief operations the ICRC maintained its commitment to the fighting-affected communities of the north-west, while expanding its assistance to communities in major cities affected by the spread of the fighting. Some 230,000 people displaced by fighting in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas were given food rations each month between early 2010 and May 2011. Thousands of people have received life-saving care at the ICRC surgical hospital for weapon-wounded patients in Peshawar and in Quetta medical clinics, and more than 11,000 people have benefited from the ICRC’s limb-fitting and physical rehabilitation programmes in the last year.

For more information, contact:
Michael O’Brien
International Committee of the Red Cross, Pakistan
Tel: +92 300 850 8138

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