October 20, 2011
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 [...]
Monsoon rains and typhoons have inundated large areas of Asia, particularly in the Philippines, Cambodia, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. Thousands of people have fled their homes; others are living on roofs. Caritas teams are distributing aid and helping families recover when their homes are damaged and their crops swept away. Caritas Philippines (locally called NASSA) is responding to typhoon damage in several dioceses. More than 5000 people are living in evacuation centres. Many more families are staying at home despite 7-foot-high water; they are living on second floors or staying with relatives who have two-storey houses. Caritas is distributing vouchers to 10,000 families for food, soap, detergent, and other necessities. In Cambodia, where floods have affected over 100,000 families, Caritas teams are on the ground in several provinces. Thousands of families have been evacuated to pagodas, schools and other government buildings. They lack food and health care. Caritas Cambodia is giving families [...]
September 28, 2011
Caritas is supporting families caught in devastating floods in Pakistan in Sindh and northern Punjab. Heavy monsoon rains in August and September have caused flooding that has affected 5.3 million people Caritas Internationalis Secretary General Michel Roy on a visit to Pakistan said, “There is an urgent need to help the millions of people affected by these floods. It’s a double tragedy as only last year some of the worst flooding in living memory overwhelmed huge swathes of the country. Again, the poorest and most vulnerable have been affected and they need our support. The 2011 floods underline the need to prepare and protect communities from future flooding. ” Getting enough resources to people in need is a major challenge due to ongoing heavy rains across southern Sindh. Shelter is an urgent need with over a million houses either destroyed or damaged. Over 300,000 people are now in relief camps, but most [...]
August 3, 2011
Amjad Gulzar, National Executive Secretary of Caritas Pakistan The first flood anniversary brings back many memories; both happy and sad. We supported the victims in times of pain and suffering but there were many whom we could not reach in time. Caritas Pakistan, helped generously through its international partners and played vital role of bringing relief and help to thousands who suffered the tragedy. The disaster last year was the worst in the history of the country. Nearly 20 million people were affected by massive floods and heavy rain during July and August 2010. We shall continue our efforts in the rehabilitation phase with a focus on reconstruction, livelihood restoration, provision of health services and safe drinking water as well as psychosocial care support. Caritas Pakistan in collaboration with National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) has organised a preparedness course this year. The training involved our Country Disaster Management Team keeping in view the [...]
July 28, 2011
Eric Dayal, National Coordinator for Disasters at Caritas Pakistan I’ve been to many of the affected areas since the floods and things have changed. People have started moving towards normal life in many respects. Now there are almost no camps and people have gone back to their villages. Many lives have been saved and people are getting food, medical facilities, clean water and shelter. There are still some people living in tents but many are making permanent houses. Caritas Pakistan has been providing roofing and construction materials to help with this. However, there are areas which still need work. Not everyone has access to water. Caritas Pakistan has provided many filters to affected communities but the need for clean drinking water is still there. People are still without jobs and are seeking help. As for food, many crops were wiped out and also the roads which took people to markets. People can now access the [...]
The fishing communities who survive on the produce of Manchar Lake in Sindh, Pakistan could never have imagined that the source of their livelihoods would one day destroy everything they owned. The lake is the biggest in Pakistan and has sustained generations of their families, with 20,000 people currently dependent on it for their survival. Yet, last summer, the lake wiped away everything they had worked so hard to build-up. Encouraged by the onrushing rivers and tributaries which feed into it, Manchar Lake rose up and swallowed the villages that surround it. Thankfully for the people who live there, Trócaire (Caritas Ireland) and the Pakistani Fisherfolk Forum (PFF), a nationwide organisation representing the needs of fishing communities, had piloted an emergency preparedness programme in the communities. Fearing the onset of flooding, the programme equipped the communities with loudspeakers, radios and a colour-coded flag system to warn when water was reaching dangerous [...]
By Laura Sheahen, Catholic Relief Services On a day in September 2010, a group of white-bearded men left their mountaintop village in Pakistan and wended their way down 5000 feet of steep, rocky slopes. None of them were young; one used a cane. At the base of the mammoth mountain, a river had burst its banks and destroyed the only bridge leading where they needed to go. The men waited hours to make a precarious journey across the water on a hastily-constructed rope trolley—a tiny open crate that swung and wobbled each of them over the river. After a difficult journey, the men finally reached their destination: a Catholic Relief Services (a US member of Caritas) office in the town of Besham. Getting from their village to Besham was normally a rough, bumpy two hours by car. But during the massive flooding of summer 2010, the journey took far longer. The men [...]
Ghulam Akber clutches his bag of cotton seed and knows he is holding his future. The seeds are the key to 22-year-old Ghulam rebuilding his life. More than anything, he needs a new house. But to get a new house, he needs money; to get money, he needs a crop; to get a crop, he needs the seeds. One year ago Ghulam could not have imagined he would be so desperate. His village, located close to Manchar Lake in the Sindh province of Pakistan, was a successful farming village. Each of the 600 residents lived in stone houses. They had land and machinery and a plentiful crop almost ready for harvesting. But then the floods came and destroyed everything. "We were very happy before the floods," he says. "We had houses and our crops were ready for harvest. But then the floods came and we lost everything - the houses, the [...]
At the end of August 2010, almost one fifth of Pakistan was underwater. Along its entire length, the Indus river had burst its banks, washing away homes, destroying crops and livestock and bringing disease. For the 20 million people affected by the floods, it was an unparalleled disaster. “We were sleeping when I heard screams that the embankment was breached. At first I thought that we were going to die. However, we managed to escape with our charpoys (beds) and my six grand children,” said 60-year-old Gamul Mai. “The raging waters swept away our mud house. I have never been that terrified in my life.” Gamul Mai developed a high fever after escaping the three-feet wave in her village in Sindh. Shortly afterwards, she visited a health centre run by Caritas Pakistan with her two young nieces who were suffering from malaria and skin allergies. She also received food items and mosquito [...]
February 18, 2011
By Jessica Howell, Catholic Relief Services (CRS is a Caritas member) The early days of last August seemed fairly unremarkable for the small Pakistani village of Rajo Bhayo, until the Indus River – swollen from days of unending monsoon rains in the north – breached a protective embankment nearby and came swirling towards the village. Villagers had about an hour to prepare before the flood hit them. “We did not understand what was happening to us when the waters came,” says Soomri, a 75-year old mother of five and grandmother of 23. Panic ensued, with people fleeing to higher ground as quickly as they could, watching their entire village disappear under rapidly-rising water.
By Kamran Chaudhry, Communications officer Caritas Pakistan Jan 28 was a day with a difference for flood victims like Haji Suleman in a relief camp of Karachi , the southern metropolis. The thumping of a platter gathered jubilant girls adorned in make-up and smiling children at Suleman’s camp as the sounds of merrymaking grew louder. Between the crowd, he sat crossed legged rhythmically moving his arms at the beat.
January 28, 2011
by Monika Vrsanska, CAFOD programme officer for the Pakistan Emergency On the road to the village of Parto Malik, we finally see the water. A lot of water, considering the flood was supposed to have ended a couple of months ago. The road is very dusty and we cough a lot, but the surrounding fields are still covered with water.
By Elli Xenou, Caritas Coordinator Pakistan I was at home in Athens on summer vacations when the phone rang. Cordaid’s project manager (Cordaid is Caritas Netherlands) sounded worried: “It’s raining two days now non-stop” he said, “something big is going to happen”. Then the first images of floods and destruction made it to the TV News. KPK Province of Pakistan, the area that was plagued by the IDP crisis last year, the area where most of NGOs were working still trying to alleviate the suffering of IDPs and conflict- affected populations, perhaps the most challenging area of Pakistan on the back of the tribal belt, heavily struck by militancy and talibanization was on the verge of a new disaster.