A man wades through floodwaters to reach his family's makeshift camp in a village in Sindh province, Pakistan. Credits: Asaid Zaidi / Caritas

A man wades through floodwaters to reach his family’s makeshift camp in a village in Sindh province, Pakistan.
Credits: Asaid Zaidi / Caritas

Caritas says a poor response by the international community to major floods in Pakistan in 2011 is endangering lives.

The Catholic aid network is urging donors to devote more resources to provide food, shelter and clean water to millions of people in need.

Heavy monsoon rains began to inundate large areas of southern Pakistan in late July 2011. As the months wore on, the floods swamped villages across the province of Sindh. According to the United Nations, more than five million people are affected.

In September, the U.N. called on the international community to donate $357 million US (258 million euros) to the crisis. Despite the scale of the need, the UN appeal has received only 20 percent of the required funding as of mid-October.

A Caritas Internationalis appeal for $4.7 million US (3.4 million euros) for food aid, shelter, and medical help is also underfunded with only 25 percent of the appeal covered .

Caritas Internationalis Secretary General Michel Roy said, “The desperate situation in Pakistan needs to be addressed by the international community quickly otherwise we will face an even greater humanitarian crisis.

“We have seen a series of emergencies across East Africa, Central America and South East Asia over the last few weeks and months. Each deserve our attention. Each put a burden on our resources in this time of economic uncertainty. That doesn’t mean we can turn away from Pakistan.”

“Millions of people in Sindh are at risk of disease and hunger because of the floods. As I have witnessed myself, the needs are very real. Families saw their homes and crops taken by the floodwaters. The homes there are made of mud, so they just melt. They are left with nothing. We must dig deep to provide the necessary funds for the people of Pakistan affected by this crisis.”

Caritas is providing food, shelter, medical care and other aid to families in Pakistan through the national member Caritas Pakistan, as well as Catholic Relief Services (CRS is a US Caritas member) and Trócaire (Caritas Ireland).

For more information, please contact Laura Sheahen on 0039 334 2344136 or 0039 06 698 797 55 or email sheahen@caritas.va.