(7 August 2015) - Heavy rains in Pakistan have caused major flooding and landslides across the country, affecting nearly one million people. The Government of Pakistan is responding to these latest floods and CARE is preparing to reach over 120,000 people with healthcare and food and livelihoods support as the situation worsens.
According to Zakir Hussain, CARE Pakistan’s Emergency Coordinator, humanitarian access to many of the worst affected areas still remains a major challenge. “Some areas, such as Chitral which has been the worst affected, are still inaccessible. Almost 60% of the district have been affected - large villages are disconnected from each other after the road networks have been damaged. The area is hilly and currently only accessible by helicopter. Food stocks are depleting quickly as the agricultural fields have been affected by the floods and landslides. Winter is fast approaching, which is a big concern for the communities left without food reserves, and which will be a big longer term problem,” says Zakir.
Pakistan has frequently suffered from heavy flooding in many parts of the country, including devastating floods in July and August of 2010 that affected more than 20 million people—a higher number than any other known disaster in the country’s recent history.
Since opening its office in 2005, CARE has responded to all major disasters in Pakistan including the 2005 and 2008 earthquakes and the 2007, 2010 and 2011 floods. Increased flooding and heatwaves over the last five years means communities are much less resilient to these kinds of natural disasters, especially in regards to the loss of livelihoods, with many of the same people affected year after year.
In 2010 CARE launched an immediate response to protect the lives of the most affected people. Working with local partner organizations and the Government, CARE reached over one million people in the eight worst affected districts through health, shelter, water, sanitation and hygiene, food, agriculture and livelihood and psychosocial interventions.
“The scale of the 2010 floods was huge,” says Zakir “the figures we are getting now from the Government for these most recent floods are that at least one million people have been affected. This is lower than 2010 but still a significant number, especially when we think that these communities have been enduring year after year of flooding and other disasters.”
Now, exactly five years on from the devastating 2010 floods and as these latest floods ravage the country once again, CARE is standing by ready to respond with mobile healthcare services including safe delivery kits and cash based food and livelihoods support should the situation worsen.
“One big difference now in 2015 is that since the 2010 floods the Government has built up capacity to be better able to respond to these kinds of disasters. The Government and the NGO community are much better prepared for this kind of disaster,” says Zakir.
Anders Nordstoga, Media and Communications Coordinator
Tel: +47 90 84 24 58