ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN (July 27, 2011) – One year on from the unprecedented flooding in Pakistan, millions of people still remain vulnerable living in makeshift tents and shelters and unprepared for another monsoon.
The scale of last year’s floods was huge with one-fifth of the country submerged underwater and 20 million people affected, forced to live in temporary camps or wherever they could find shelter. According to the UN and Pakistani authorities, there are between 2-5 million people who will face a further risk of flooding in the coming weeks.
There is still a critical need to support those communities struggling in the aftermath of the disaster. In particular, there remains an urgent need to build better disaster preparedness systems and rebuild damaged infrastructure to assist flood-prone areas and communities to become more resilient to flooding.
A funding gap of US$570 million remains in Pakistan to address the urgent needs of the most vulnerable communities, as set out in the Pakistan Humanitarian Response Plan.
CARE Pakistan’s Country Director, Mr Waleed Rauf, said, “With heavy rains forecast for the next few weeks the likelihood that Pakistan will have another flood disaster is very real, and once again women and children will bear the brunt of it as they are the most vulnerable and marginalized.
“Donors, the government and international organisations need to continue to support both recovery and disaster risk reduction efforts in Pakistan to prevent a reoccurrence of last year’s crisis.”
Long-term development is required to support these flood-affected areas. CARE International is committed to working in the worse hit areas through local partners to help these communities recover their incomes and homes. People who lost everything, their homes, work, and belongings, now say the major need is replacing their lost income and having a reliable source of work.
CARE programmes are focusing on building permanent shelters, built to withstand any future flooding, and helping families regain their incomes through distribution of cash grants, providing seeds and fertilizer to farmers, and creating awareness on disaster preparedness with community training sessions, which help people plan and prepare in case of another flood.
Women especially are supported with grants and training to set up small businesses that will create an income to provide for their families. Their businesses include tailoring, grocery shops, handicrafts and farming.
Mr Waleed Rauf, said, “In addition to helping people recover their lost livelihoods, CARE is also helping communities become more resilient to flooding through disaster preparedness. CARE is working with our partners and the government to better prepare people for the current flood season. Simple measure like ‘early warning systems,’ providing safe storage for personal identification, and pre-planning evacuations can save lives and protect livelihoods during flooding.”
To date, CARE International has reached more than one million people with its relief and recovery programmes. It will continue to assist those people most in need to rebuild their lives following the devastation of last year.
However, much more needs to be done and there is an immediate need for recovery and flood preparedness work on river banks, irrigation channels and other infrastructure to help reduce the vulnerability of those families who remain at risk. Further disaster preparedness work by the government and international organisations, and donor support, is vital to help those people in affected areas prepare and be protected against any future floods.
Islamabad, Pakistan: Cate Heinrich, [email protected], +92 331 537 7172 (mobile)
About CARE: Founded in 1945, CARE is a leading humanitarian organization fighting global poverty. CARE has more than six decades of experience helping people prepare for disasters, providing lifesaving assistance when a crisis hits, and helping communities recover after the emergency has passed. CARE places special focus on women and children, who are often disproportionately affected by disasters. Our long-term poverty-fighting programs help poor communities become more resilient and less vulnerable to emergencies. Last year, CARE worked in 87 countries around the world to assist more than 82 million people improve basic health and education, fight hunger, increase access to clean water and sanitation, expand economic opportunity, confront climate change, and recover from disasters.