Residents and shopkeepers wade through a flooded street with their belongings after heavy rains in Peshawar July 29, 2010. Almost 200 people have been killed by flashfloods and bad weather in Pakistan in the last week, with the country's northwest and Baluchistan provinces bearing the worst of the storms, officials said on Thursday.
Caritas Pakistan says hundreds of thousands of people are homeless and over 300 people have died following constant heavy monsoon rains in mainly the north of the country.
Following recent assessments, Caritas will initially provide emergency relief items to 1300 families in two districts of southern Punjab, one of the worst-affected areas.
“The rains have played havoc across the country. I visited three villages in Balochistan the other day and all the houses had been completely demolished by the floodwaters and the people had fled to higher land ,” says Eric Dayal, emergency officer for Pakistan. “Delivering aid will be a problem as some areas are still cut off and the airports are closed.”
Families will receive shelter, food (flour, oil, ghee, sugar, tea, dal and rice) cooking utensils and hygiene items. Caritas will also provide medical treatment and vaccinations to 3000 people. Caritas Pakistan says that the initial relief effort will cost US$91,000 (70,000 euro).
The distributions will take place in the first few days of August and will focus on the Rajan Pur and the Dera Ghazi Khan districts in Punjab.
The floods are the worst to hit Pakistan in over 80 years. Houses and livestock have been washed away and people are desperately trying to protect what remains of their possessions.
Despite the rains, temperatures remain high in Punjab, leaving people unable to stay in tents in the daytime but in need of shelter from the sun.
In some places people have to wade through waist-high water to move around. The flooding means that people are at risk of skin diseases, stomach problems, respiratory conditions and malaria.
The floods have also washed away hundreds of thousands of acres of crops including cotton, rice and sugar cane.
The rains have spread to much of the country and show no signs of stopping.
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