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Pakistan Floods

From Disaster to Recovery -The work in Pakistan goes on

Long after the floods have receded, the people of Sindh province are receiving assistance.  Church World Service Pakistan reports on their achievements to April 2012.

Church World Service Pakistan/Afghanistan reports on their achievements in February 2012 and thanks those who donated to this appeal. Six months on tens of thousands of people continue to struggle for their daily survival.  Donations can still be made to this appeal.

In 2010, the worst floods to hit Pakistan in 80 years left the country needing years of support to recover its infrastructure, jobs, housing and farmland. ACT Alliance partner Church World Service Pakistan/Afghanistan promises continued support to the people affected by this disaster. Flooding again in 2011 caused further catastophe.
Already tens of thousands of people have received food, shelter and medical assistance from ACT. Mobile health clinics have provided healthcare, consultations and antenatal care, temporary housing, and household goods. This video shows the cash for work component of the support.

Severe Flooding in Pakistan

A displaced familyTorrential rains have caused severe flooding in the south of Pakistan’s Sindh province.  The UN estimates that 5.8 million people are affected of whom 1.8 million have been displaced, many for the second year in a row.  The impact of this latest disaster is grim with the country still in recovery from last year’s floods.  Pakistan’s National Disaster Management Authority has appealed for help from the international community.

The rising flood waters have forced Visham and his family from their home.  The father speaking from his camp in the district of Mirpurkhas said, ‘It is like living in a jungle, we are afraid of snake and scorpion bites. How do we protect our children?  Our beds and belongings have gone along with our house and the wheat stored for food.  How do we feed our children?”

CWS humanitarian partner, Church World Service Pakistan/Afghanistan (CWS P/A) has assessed the situation in 4 southern districts and is seeking funds to provide emergency food supplies, temporary shelter, hygiene kits, mosquito nets and bedding for 48 000 highly vulnerable people.  In addition CWS P/A will send two mobile health clinics to treat growing numbers of sick.  Gastroenteritis and diarrhoea are prevalent.  Children are susceptible to disease caused by poor hygiene, malnutrition and the lack of clean water.  Pregnant women are particularly vulnerable under these conditions.
CWS P/A is a member of a UN ‘cluster’ meeting in Sindh Province working to make sure that assistance is effective and meets the need of local people.

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Donate on line Tel 0800 74 73 72 or by mail to: PO Box 22652, Christchurch 8140.

 

Sindh: On the Verge of Tragedy

The calls for assistance are strong in Islamabad as millions of flood and rain affected people in Sindh remain without shelter and without the necessary food, healthcare, and safe drinking water to survive the coming months. On Saturday, September 30, the United Nations warned that diminishing relief items will soon be unavailable unless the international community comes forward and donates to the Rapid Response Plan, which is only 6% funded.

Thus far, the U.N. and its humanitarian partners have provided emergency shelter, medicines and consultations, food, and safe drinking water to hundreds of thousands of flood affected people. According to the U.N., if more funding is not received food stocks will run out within one month, safe drinking water supply in a few weeks, contingency stocks of emergency shelter will last only a few weeks, and one-third of the affected population could be without medical care in a month’s time. 

Allan Calma, Church World Service-Pakistan/Afghanistan’s (CWS-P/A) Deputy Director Disaster Management Program, expresses, “The unmet needs in Sindh are a tragedy waiting to happen. The high prevalence of poverty in Sindh exacerbates the challenges of overcoming this disaster. The destruction of agricultural crops and loss of significant livelihoods means these communities have little or no resources with which to restart their lives. The international community, which has assisted Pakistan in their times of need, must once again come forward to help the millions of affected families.”

Media depicts a plague of global disasters of one kind or another, happening more frequently and with greater losses. With an increasing number of disasters resulting in huge economic and social losses, the global community must do more to help the most vulnerable communities so that they can become more resilient and better prepared to deal with natural hazards, thus, reducing the financial strain on global disaster response. Aside from meeting the immediate needs for communities and countries like Pakistan facing the brunt of these natural disasters, greater effort must be made for alleviating poverty through sustainable development and rehabilitation that emphasize disaster preparedness and risk reduction.

The timely response from a few international partners is greatly appreciated, but CWS-P/A appeals for greater response so that it and the humanitarian community in Pakistan may help address the immediate needs of millions displaced and affected by this year’s floods. At this time, the cost of slow response is greater suffering and losses. Continued slow response will lead to a tragedy of death, suffering, hunger, malnutrition, and abject poverty.

CWS-P/A Response:
In Thatta District, CWS-P/A has initiated distribution of tokens to 1,000 affected families who will receive nonfood items including kitchen sets, hygiene kits, sleeping mats, mosquito nets, and other items in the coming days. This is possible with support from Danida.

Procurement process has also commenced for the distribution of 577 metric tons of food items for 2,000 affected families in Mirphurkas and Umerkot Districts. This intervention will ensure food support to these families for the next two months. This was made possible due to the generosity and support of the Canadian Foodgrains Bank through Presbyterian World Service and Development.

Through the ACT Preliminary Appeal, CWS-P/A plans to assist 48,000 affected individuals in four districts: Badin, Thatta, Umerkot, and Mirpurkhas. The relief assistance comprises of food packages for 2,000 families for two months, nonfood items and temporary shelter for 4,000 families, and mobile health services to 12,000 individuals. Food packages meet or exceed Sphere minimum standards as follows: 2,248 kilocalories per person per day (107% of standard); 12% of calories from protein (100% of standard); and 17.8% of calories from fats (104.7% of standard). NFIs and health services are also according to Sphere standards.

CWS-P/A continues active coordination at the national and local levels. CWS-P/A’s emergency response team members are conducting assessments, preparing for distributions, and ensuring quality and accountability of the planned response.

CWS-P/A believes firmly in community participation during assessments, identification, and implementation and is taking all necessary steps, including the standard CWS-P/A complaints response mechanism, to ensure it adheres to this commitment. After completion of needs assessments, CWS-P/A will aim to assist more affected individuals through the ACT Full Appeal.

CWS-P/A continues active coordination at the national, provincial, and district levels. CWS-P/A has also submitted its proposed response plans to the Rapid Response Plan (formerly referred to as UN Flash Appeal).

October 3, 2011
CWS-P/A Communications Office

Jannat’s Story: When Poverty Meets Disaster

“God give me the strength so we can rebuild our house to be able to live the life we were living previously. MJannat and her children, flood survivors CWS P/A D Fernandesy entire house has collapsed along with some of our belongings that have gone underground with it. My house had two rooms and was made of mud.”

Jannat, a twenty-eight year old woman with two children from Thatta District lives presently in her parent’s house in the village of Haji Ladho Khaskhelly. She belongs to the same village while additional family members residing in the three rooms of the house include Jannat’s three sisters, her brother, and his wife. Her husband, Haider, sells vegetables in the local market in the tehsil of Mirpur Bathoro.

“He earns between 100 - 200 rupees (USD 1.11 - 2.22) per day, and the money is not enough because neither the vegetables nor the cart belong to him. It will cost as much as 40,000 rupees (USD 444.44) to rebuild our house. We do not have that much money.”
During the country’s heavy monsoon rainfall and almost a month ago, twelve houses in Haji Ladho Khaskhelly collapsed. The village has 86 houses with over 200 residents. Jannat’s neighbors, Khamoon and Mohammad Suddhir, share her sorrow and relate to her loss since their homes were also damaged. Fortunately, Khamoon was able to secure his second room with a stick which is now on the verge of collapsing.

“We need help to have a place of our own. We have lost more than just our house; we lost things inside our house and our space.” Jannat continued to explain that the finances needed to rebuild their house is out of reach for them and that additional expenses are needed to replace their household items.

Jannat, Khamoon, and Mohammad Suddhir have received tents, blankets, and food packages as part of CWS-P/A’s distributions in the district. Through this support the families have a little bit of security that they have quality food that will last their families for a month as well as shelter.

While the tents provide temporary roofs to the three families and the food brings a smile on their faces, there is no doubt that the families have larger concerns. These include winter worries, health risks, lost crops, diminished livelihoods, clothing, and more importantly, a stronger home.

Affected families in Sindh still remain in much need of immediate assistance. Despite their remaining challenges and needs, Jannat, Khamoon, and Mohammad Suddhir are fortunate as compared to the thousands of people who have yet to receive any assistance. Support from the international community will not only help individual families and communities but also assist in alleviating some of the pressure on global poverty caused by the increasing number and scale of natural disasters. The affected communities are mostly impoverished, marginalized, and are in need of assistance in order to keep them from falling farther below the poverty line and deeper into food insecurity, debt, and uncertainty.
Thatta District, Sindh
October 1, 2011
Donna Fernandes
CWS Pakistan/Afghanistan

Snail Speed Aid Increases Risks in Sindh

“We need shelter, and please help us get shelter. We have been buying some food with the little money we have. We just eat one time in a day and sometimes just water or roti (flat bread),” requests a displaced man living along the roadside in Mirpurkhas, speaking on behalf of his community as one of its elders. 

Despite commitment from the humanitarian community in Pakistan, aid will not reach the millions of people in need because the funds are not coming. The U.N. Rapid Response Plan which requests for approximately USD 357 million has only received commitment amounting to 3%. This included USD 9 million from Japan and USD 726,744 in uncommitted pledges from Germany. This is the status ten days after the appeal was launched. The ACT Preliminary Appeal is less than 10% funded and most of this comes from transferring funds remaining from the previous year’s flood appeal.

Slow aid was an issue at the start of the 2010 floods. This year, the problem is exacerbated by the combination of the government requesting assistance one month after the emergency occurred and the almost negligible response from the international and humanitarian community. The current scenario has adverse effects on the much-needed effort to help those in need. The result of which for the affected population is an increasing death toll, inflation of needs, and emergence of unimaginable risks.

A lot can happen to a disaster affected family in ten days. They face real possibility of dehydration, hunger, and starvation. Women, children, and the elderly are particularly vulnerable in terms of their safety, protection, dignity, and health. The list of risks and challenges is endless, and the families currently facing the situation in Sindh are also aware of these possibilities and must face their fears each day.

Thousands of aid workers are prepared and on the ground, but there is nothing to give and no way to provide the necessary assistance to save the lives or preserve the dignity of millions of people displaced and severely affected by the natural disaster.

CWS-P/A appeals to the international community and to its partners to send a message to their supporters. The people in Pakistan immediately need help—it is a matter of life and death on a large scale. Most of the affected people belong to impoverished and marginalized communities who are desperate for our support in helping them to recover from this disaster.

The cost to meet some basic needs of a family in Pakistan is not very much. It costs approximately USD 110 to provide a food package to last a family for one month, USD 50 to provide a nonfood item package including hygiene kit, and USD 240 for a shelter kit. Sometimes humanity needs to be shown to an individual but in some cases it must be demonstrated to an entire population. The affected communities in Pakistan will greatly appreciate support so that they can overcome their present situation and once again begin the road to recovery.

CWS-P/A Response:
Procurement process has also commenced for the distribution of 577 metric tons of food items for 2,000 affected families in Mirphurkas and Umerkot Districts. This intervention will ensure food support to these families for the next two months. This was made possible due to the generosity and support of the Canadian Foodgrains Bank through Presbyterian World Service and Development.

Through the ACT Preliminary Appeal, which has now been launched, CWS-P/A plans to assist 48,000 affected individuals in four districts: Badin, Thatta, Umerkot, and Mirpurkhas. The relief assistance comprises of food packages for 2,000 families for two months, nonfood items and temporary shelter for 4,000 families, and mobile health services to 12,000 individuals. Food packages meet or exceed Sphere minimum standards as follows: 2,248 kilocalories per person per day (107% of standard); 12% of calories from protein (100% of standard); and 17.8% of calories from fats (104.7% of standard). NFIs and health services are also according to Sphere standards.

CWS-P/A continues active coordination at the national and local levels. CWS-P/A’s emergency response team members are conducting assessments, preparing for distributions, and ensuring quality and accountability of the planned response.

CWS-P/A believes firmly in community participation during assessments, identification, and implementation and is taking all necessary steps, including the standard CWS-P/A complaints response mechanism, to ensure it adheres to this commitment. After completion of needs assessments, CWS-P/A will aim to assist more affected individuals through the ACT Full Appeal.

CWS-P/A continues active coordination at the national, provincial, and district levels. CWS-P/A has also submitted its proposed response plans to the Rapid Response Plan (formerly referred to as UN Flash Appeal).

27 September, 2011
CWS-P/A Communications Office

Hoping to Return to a Place called Home

MIRPURKHAS DISTRICT, SINDH, PAKISTAN: Among 1.8 million people displaced by floodwaters are farmer Jam Joseph, his wife Mebhai, and their four children.  The family belongs to Satra Water Village, five kilometers away from the higher ground where the displaced family has been residing for the past two weeks. Satra Water Village which remains submerged by floodwaters is a place where 200 houses once stood. The family was able to evacuate on a boat to higher ground as water approached the village. Pointing in the direction leading to the village, Jam said, “Everything was going well, and we were saving. Everything has been lost now. Three acres of my crops have been submerged in water and the wheat we saved for home consumption. I grew chili, wheat, and cotton on the land that belonged to my father.” Jam was quick to share, “Water never before reached this village even our ancestors said the same to us.”

In Mirpurkhas, owing to long spells of drought and labeled among the severely food insecure districts in Pakistan, Jam and his wife both worry about a shortage of food threatening their family. “We do not have crops; we saved sixty maunds (2,400 kilograms) of wheat for food and that has all gone away.” Jam and his family benefit from CWS-P/A’s food security project in the district which has helped families gain improved access to resources including seeds, water, and empowering women like his wife to set up small-scale businesses for more than four years. “I earned 200 rupees (USD 2.22) per week through the shop I operated and miss running it. All members of our self-help group happily met, sat down, and talked. Now, everything is lost even the register we kept for records.” Sitting besides his wife, Jam said, “My landownership documents are also lost.”

Like most flood survivors, Jam carried his national identity card in his pocket always. “This is all that I have.  I made a trip back to our village and could not see any of our belongings. There is still about three or four feet of water, and I pray our belongings are still there.” Jam described the trip he took with eight other community members to visit their village. The journey was made on a jute bed which was overturned and tied atop air-tube tires.

“We can only work on the land once it is cleared of the water. We need help until we can go back to our normal life,” said Jam. For Jam, his wife, and others displaced from Satra Water Village, food concerns and lost documents are far from being the only worry. The community worries about the risk of living under the open skies. “In the evening, snakes and scorpions come here so we have raised the ground where our children sleep. The snakes and scorpions get trapped in the low-level passage.”

Jam has developed a skin rash and said, “Never before have I had this. It is because of the unclean water that surrounds us. We have to live here for not less than six months until we can go back. This is going to be difficult because there is too much water. We will have to rebuild everything.”

During a needs assessment, CWS-P/A’s field team visited Jam and other displaced community members from Satra Water Village. CWS-P/A aims to assist thousands of affected families meet basic food needs over the next two months. Particularly in Umerkot and Mirpurkhas, CWS-P/A plans to provide almost 600 metric tons of food to 2,000 families. Food packages contain culturally preferred items such as pulses, wheat flour, iodized salt, baby food (Cerelac), and cooking oil in quantities sufficient to meet daily calorie, fat, and protein intake needs for the average size family and in accordance with Sphere standards.

22 September 2011
Donna Fernandes
Church World Service Pakistan/Afghanistan

Health Risks Threaten Millions of Women and Children

Heavy rains and flooding throughout Sindh Province have left millions vulnerable to serious health risks. The UN estimates that 5.4 million people have been directly affected, with 1.8 people being displaced. Many affected communities are facing the destruction of their livelihoods two years in a row. The conditions in which the affected population is living present major health risks, particularly for women, children, the elderly, and marginalized minority communities.  Crowding in the temporary shelters and makeshift camps as well as the general lack of sewage systems and sanitation facilities has created an environment highly conducive to the spread of disease. Livestock killed by the flooding also presents a serious hazard as corpses attract disease-carrying flies and mosquitoes. 

CWS-P/A’s local partner, IIRE, reports that the severity of health issues is increasing with each passing day. Gastroenteritis and diarrhea are common. It says that women and children face the most serious conditions; on Monday, one mobile health team treated 134 individuals of which more than half were children.

WHO has raised concerns about the lack of healthcare facilities in the region, as 224 of the 839 health facilities which serve the population are currently inaccessible due to damage caused by flooding. Communicable illnesses including waterborne, vector-borne and airborne disease pose a serious threat to the millions of vulnerable people in flood-affected areas, a problem which has been severely exacerbated as people are without clean water and are using dirty water for washing and consumption. 

The NDMA has reported that an estimated 120,000 pregnant women are among the affected population. The UNFPA adds that of this number, 350 women can be expected to go into labor every day while a further 50 women will experience life threatening pregnancy-related complications. These women are in dire need of medical assistance yet face a dangerous lack of resources, support, and supplies as many areas remain cut off from the aid provided by government authorities and international bodies. 

UNICEF emphasizes the dangers for children, who are always the most vulnerable in any emergency situation. The number of children affected by the rains has now reached 2.7 million. Susceptibility to disease will be greatly increased by poor hygiene, malnutrition, and the lack of clean water, raising fears about the safety of children. 

The highly contagious nature of illnesses associated with flooding and subsequent emergency conditions makes the need for assistance increasingly urgent as medical supplies are predicted to run out by the end of the month and many people remain beyond the reach of help.

Mobile health units and other health services help bring life-saving support to communities affected by disaster. Responding to the health needs is more than making services available. They must be accessible to the most vulnerable communities and also provide the type of services needed. Pakistan has a severe shortage of trained female health workers, but at this time, lady health workers as they are called here, are direly needed. In addition to medicines and preventive and curative health services, health initiatives should also raise awareness among affected communities on issues related to mother and child care, waterborne diseases, and good hygiene practices. By responsibly providing health care and education, the humanitarian community can help reduce the risks and number of unnecessary deaths.

With damages to the existing health facilities, recovery will also require repair of facilities and restoration of health services. It will present an opportunity for improving the quality of healthcare in the province, particularly for mother and child care, and for raising the general awareness of health related issues.

CWS-P/A Response:
Procurement process has also commenced for the distribution of 577 metric tons of food items for 2,000 affected families in Mirphurkas and Umerkot Districts. This intervention will ensure food support to these families for the next two months. This was made possible due to the generosity and support of the Canadian Foodgrains Bank through Presbyterian World Services and Development.

Through the ACT Preliminary Appeal, which has now been launched, CWS-P/A plans to assist 48,000 affected individuals in four districts: Badin, Thatta, Umerkot, and Mirpurkhas. The relief assistance comprises of food packages for 2,000 families for two months, nonfood items and temporary shelter for 4,000 families, and mobile health services to 12,000 individuals. Food packages meet or exceed Sphere minimum standards as follows: 2,248 kilocalories per person per day (107% of standard); 12% of calories from protein (100% of standard); and 17.8% of calories from fats (104.7% of standard). NFIs and health services are also according to Sphere standards.

CWS-P/A continues active coordination at the national and local levels. CWS-P/A’s emergency response team members are conducting assessments, preparing for distributions, and ensuring quality and accountability of the planned response.
September 21, 2011
CWS-P/A Communications Office

 Map of Sindh