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 of those displaced by flooding are living along roadsides, embankments and in public buildings such as schools.
Water sources are no longer considered safe leaving the affected populations to rely on open pond waters, risking the threat of communicable diseases. Up to 2.5 million people are in need of help to get clean water and sanitation.
There is an immediate need to focus on controlling the communicable diseases including water as well as vector borne diseases such diarrhoea, hepatitis and malaria.
Caritas is providing humanitarian assistance in the 2011 floods in Pakistan through the national member Caritas Pakistan, as well as Catholic Relief Services (CRS is a US Caritas member) and Trócaire (Caritas Ireland).
Caritas Pakistan has been on the ground since the onset of the emergency and is focusing on Badin and Tatha in Sindh, Kasur, Mian Chanon, Ranjanpur, and Bahwalpur in Punjab.
A Caritas Pakistan emergency response team in Badin found 70 families from a village sitting on the side of the road who they were able to help with food and hygiene packs. The diocese of Hyderabad has distributed 400 tents and 400 food packages. The diocese of Lahore has distributed food packages and has treated 500 sick people. The diocese of Multan has distributed 300 tents and food packages.
Caritas Pakistan will expand its operations, providing 12,500 families with temporary shelter, food assistance and health services in order to eradicate disease and cure ailments.
Trócaire has distributed in Badin, where it has long-standing programmes in bonded labour and human rights. CRS is initially targeting Mirpur Khas, Sanghar, Nawabshah, and Kairpur districts with aid items like plastic sheeting and hygiene kits.