Over three months after heavy rains deluged huge swathes of Pakistan, thousands of people are still trapped by floodwaters and can’t get back home.
Many more are living in temporary accommodation, while others are battling malnutrition, malaria, cholera and general health problems caused by the damp and the instability of their lives.
At one point the floods covered one fifth of Pakistan. Over 2000 people died, millions of hectares of crops were lost along with thousands of heads of livestock.
Four Caritas organisations have been working to help the flood affected with food, medicine, shelter, protection initiatives and counselling. But big challenges remain such as equipping farmers so they can plant crops where possible to avert a food shortage, also how to protect people living outdoors during the long, harsh winter.
Caritas Pakistan, Catholic Relief Services (CRS – a US member of Caritas Internationalis), Trócaire (Caritas Ireland) and Cordaid (Caritas Netherlands) have been working in the provinces of Sindh, Punjab, Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK).
“People are now slowly returning to their mud houses which have been reduced to nothing. Tent villages have been setup in the southern Punjab and Balochistan province as water recedes in most of the country. We have to respond quickly as winter is coming,” said Anila J. Gill Caritas Pakistan director.
Caritas Pakistan has supported more than 35,400 families all over the country. Over 9,500 patients have been treated in 22 medical camps sponsored by
Caritas Pakistan. It has also distributed:
• 1250 tents
• 195 construction material kits for mending roofs
• 14,317 hygiene kits
• 10,234 food hampers
• 30,283 kits containing kitchen and hygiene sets and bedding
Catholic Relief Services has so far fundraised US$22 million and with it helped over 530,000 people by providing them with the basic things they needed after losing them in the floods such as food , shelter, hygiene items and water. CRS is committed to helping Pakistanis gain a longer-term autonomy through cash-for-work projects, helping communities repair infrastructure.
Part of their focus has been on providing safe drinking water. People in flooded areas are at risk of cholera, dehydration and stomach upsets. CRS water projects include: hand pump repair, well cleaning and training in safe water and hygiene best practices.
Trócaire has used US$8 million dollars to provide food, water, hygiene kits and other items to over 135,000 people since the beginning of the floods. It also helped rescue 20,000 people from the floodwaters in the immediate weeks after the floods. Furthermore, it has created child-friendly spaces and provided training in human rights awareness raising and has focused on rebuilding infrastructure and helping people regain their livelihoods.
Around 70,000 people benefited from Cordaid health programmes in Shangla, north Pakistan in September and October 2010. Cordaid used mobile health clinics to bring medical assistance to the flood victims. It also promoted health awareness by distributing hygiene kits and helped people replace their possessions by providing items such as kitchen equipment.
The challenge is massive and the people of Pakistan need your help in this time of need.
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