Archive for the ‘floods in pakistan’ tag
What was till today described as the worst floods in Pakistan’s history has now been termed as the biggest disaster ever to strike the country. Report by Anita Joshua in The Hindu
An update to my earlier post Pakistan floods: Links to send donations, relief goods.Please see Rural Support Programme flood appeal. Details in Shandana Khan’s email below – she earlier worked with the internally displaced after the exodus from Swat and other areas following the army operation against militants. She writes:
The RSP Network will provide your donations to its member organisations or Rural Support Programmes, in Punjab, Pukhtunkhwa, Sindh, Balochistan and AJK. The RSPs are working with flood victims. The RSPs will assist flood victims mainly through their existing community networks and field-based offices in the flood affected districts.
The RSP Network is registered in Pakistan as a non-profit and is the largest network of non-government, rural development organisations or Rural Support Programmes with an outreach to 3 million rural households. See www.rspn.org for donation details. For queries contact Amina Askari at firstname.lastname@example.org
SHANDANA H. KHAN
CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER
NO 7, STREET 49, SECTOR F 6/4
ISLAMABAD: The number of people suffering from the massive floods in Pakistan could exceed the combined total in three recent megadisasters – the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, the 2005 Kashmir earthquake and the 2010 Haiti earthquake – the United Nations said Monday.
The death toll in each of those three disasters was much higher than the 1,500 people killed so far in the floods that first hit Pakistan two weeks ago. But the Pakistani government estimates that over 13 million people have been affected - two million more than the other disasters combined.
The comparison helps frame the scale of the crisis, which has overwhelmed the Pakistani government and has generated widespread anger from flood victims who have complained that aid is not reaching them quickly enough or at all.
”It looks like the number of people affected in this crisis is higher than the Haiti earthquake, the tsunami or the Pakistan earthquake, and if the toll is as high as the one given by the government, it’s higher than the three of them combined,” Maurizio Giuliano, spokesman for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, told The Associated Press.
The UN has provided a lower number of people who have been affected in Pakistan, about 6 million, but Giuliano said his organization does not dispute the government’s figure. The UN number does not include the southern province of Sindh, which has been hit by floods in recent days, and the two sides have slightly different definitions of what it means to be affected.
The total number of people affected in the three other large disasters that have hit in recent years is about 11 million – 5 million in the tsunami and 3 million in each of the earthquakes – said Giuliano.
Many of the people affected by the floods, which were caused by extremely heavy monsoon rains, were located in Pakistan’s northwestern province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Rescue workers have been unable to reach up to 600,000 people marooned in the province’s Swat Valley, where many residents were still trying to recover from an intense battle between the army and the Taliban last spring, said Giuliano. Bad weather has prevented helicopters from flying to the area, which is inaccessible by ground, he said.
”All these people are in very serious need of assistance, and we are highly concerned about their situation,” said Giuliano.
Hundreds of thousands of people have also had to flee rising floodwaters in recent days in the central and southern provinces of Punjab and Sindh as heavy rains have continued to pound parts of the country.
One affected resident, Manzoor Ahmed, said Monday that although he managed to escape floods that submerged villages and destroyed homes in Sindh, the total lack of government help meant dying may have been a better alternative.
”It would have been better if we had died in the floods as our current miserable life is much more painful,” said Ahmed, who fled with his family from the town of Shikarpur and spent the night shivering in the rain that has continued to lash the country.
”It is very painful to see our people living without food and shelter,” he said.
Thousands of people in the neighboring districts of Shikarpur and Sukkur camped out on roads, bridges and railway tracks – any dry ground they could find – often with nothing more than the clothes on their backs and perhaps a plastic sheet to keep off the rain.
”I have no utensils. I have no food for my children. I have no money,” said Hora Mai, 40, sitting on a rain-soaked road in Sukkur along with hundreds of other people. ”We were able to escape the floodwaters, but hunger may kill us.”
A senior government official in Sukkur, Inamullah Dhareejo, said authorities were working to set up relief camps in the district and deliver food to flood victims.
But an Associated Press reporter who traveled widely through the worst-hit areas in Sindh over the past three days saw no sign of relief camps or government assistance.
The worst floods in Pakistan’s history hit the country at a time when the government is already struggling with a faltering economy and a brutal war against Taliban militants that has killed thousands of people.
The US and other international partners have stepped in to support the government by donating tens of millions of dollars and providing relief supplies and assistance.
But the UN special envoy for the disaster, Jean-Maurice Ripert, said Sunday that Pakistan will need billions of dollars more from international donors to recover from the floods, a daunting prospect at a time when the financial crisis has shrunk aid budgets in many countries
Pakistan’s Tehreek-e-Taliban faction on Tuesday urged the government to reject American aid for people affected by the nation’s worst floods in 80 years.
“The government should not accept American aid and if it happens, we can give 20 million dollars to them as aid for the flood victims,” Azam Tariq, a spokesman for Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), told AFP by telephone.
The most devastating floods in Pakistan’s living memory have affected up to 13.8 million people and killed an estimated 1,600 prompting the UN to prepare an appeal for several hundred million dollars for immediate relief.
“We will ourselves distribute relief under leadership of our chief Hakimullah Mehsud among the people if the government assures us that none of our members will be arrested,” Tariq said.
“We condemn American and other foreign aid and believe that it will lead to subjugation. Our jihad against America will continue.”
Washington has provided 35 million dollars in aid, including 436,000 halal meals and 12 pre-fabricated bridges.The White House said that US helicopters have helped to save more than 1,000 lives in Pakistan.
Critics say the relief effort was slow to get into gear and have heaped scorn on the unpopular President Asif Ali Zardari for pressing ahead with a visit to Europe at the height of the disaster.
Islamic charities, some with suspected links to extremist militants, are believed to have stepped into the breach on the ground, as international relief efforts mobilised.
The TTP, a key architect of a bombing campaign that has killed more than 3,570 people across Pakistan in three years, grabbed the global spotlight after the United States accused the group over a failed car bomb plot in New York in May.
Flooding in north-west Pakistan
A recent but undated image of flooding in north-western Pakistan,issued by the NGO Merlin August 6, 2010. Torrential rains in these areas of Pakistan have caused the most severe flooding in 80 years.