Two months after large scale flooding Christian World Service is appealing for more help in Pakistan’s Sindh province.
Many of the 8.9 million people affected in Sindh and Balochistan remain at high risk of hunger and disease, but global fundraising efforts are falling short. This is the second year in a row that monsoons have caused widespread damage. Many communities had not recovered from last year’s flooding and the high level of pre-existing poverty has made life worse.“The unmet needs in Sindh are a tragedy waiting to happen,” said Allan Calma, deputy director of Church World Service Pakistan/Afghanistan’s (CWS P/A) disaster management programme, reacting to calls by the United Nations that more must be done by the international community to assist Pakistan’s survivors. The UN’s appeal for Pakistan is only 18 per cent funded signalling serious shortfalls in coming months.
“The high prevalence of poverty in Sindh exacerbates the challenges of overcoming this disaster,” he said. “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.”For 28 year old survivor Jannat and her family delivery of a tent, blankets and food packages by long term CWS partner, CWS P/A offers hope. They will survive in the short term. Her husband Haider used to sell vegetables in Mirpur Bathoro but their livelihood, belongings and home were washed away. “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 explained that they do not have the money to rebuild their house or replace household items.“God give me the strength so we can rebuild our house to be able to live the life we were living previously. My 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,” she continued.CWS is appealing for funds to provide food, clean drinking water, shelter, healthcare and other assistance for 48,000 residents in two badly hit districts in the province of Sindh. According to the latest update, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) report over 2.75 million people are in immediate need of food assistance. At least 880,000 hectares of standing crops, including rice, maize, cotton, sugar cane, fruit orchards and vegetables were damaged while 92,000 livestock perished. Some 300 people have died and hundreds of thousands suffering from hepatitis and malaria. Many who can have moved to less-flooded areas but others remain in the inundated areas selling any livestock at below market rates to survive.As part of its development work CWS P/A has been endeavouring to help communities prepare for disasters through its training programme and is an advocate for efficient relief operations. “The cost of slow response is greater suffering and losses,” according to CWS P/A staff. “Continued slow response will lead to a tragedy of death, suffering, hunger, malnutrition, and abject poverty.””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,” they added. “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.”
Donations to the CWS Pakistan Appeal can be made now, phone 0800 74 73 72 or send to PO Box 22652, Christchurch 8140. Read more about the CWS response.October 19, 2011