Archive for the ‘worst floods’ tag
PESHAWAR: Fears grew Monday about outbreaks of disease among 1.5 million people affected by Pakistan’s worst floods in 80 years after monsoon rains killed more than 1,100 people across the northwest.
Unprecedented rains triggered floods and landslides, sweeping away thousands of homes and devastating farmland in one of Pakistan’s most impoverished regions, already hard hit by years of Taliban and Al-Qaeda-linked violence.
Officials warn that a lack of drinking water is spreading cholera and gastroenteritis, saying they are working to evacuate people from affected areas such as Swat, the scene last summer of a major offensive against the Taliban.
“We estimate that about 100,000 people, mostly children, have been hit by cholera and gastro diseases,” said Syed Zahir Ali Shah, the health minister for the northwestern province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
“Our priority is to first evacuate them to safe areas and then provide them with medical treatment.
“In cut-off areas and parts of Swat we have sent medical teams by helicopter,” he told AFP.
UN chief Ban Ki-moon pledged aid of up to 10 million dollars to meet the humanitarian needs of those affected by the crisis, saying he was “deeply saddened” by the floods.
The US government announced a 10-million-dollar aid pledge and has rushed helicopters and boats to Pakistan. China has also promised 1.5 million dollars, according to the official Xinhua news agency.
Anwer Kazmi, a spokesman for the Edhi Foundation, said at least 1,256 people had been killed and that Swat was the worst affected district with 475 deaths.
“Food and shelter are the most critical needs of the hundreds of thousands of displaced people… the situation is seriously affecting the health of children and women in particular,” he told AFP.
Mian Iftikhar Hussain, information minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa said earlier that the floods had killed more than 1,100 people and affected over 1.5 million in the province, but had warned the death toll could rise further.
“We are also getting confirmation of reports about an outbreak of cholera in some areas of Swat,” he said.
Pakistan’s meteorological department forecast downpours of up to 200 millimetres in the next two weeks across the northwest, Pakistani-administered Kashmir, the central province of Punjab and Sindh in the south.
Television footage and photographs have shown people clinging to the walls and rooftops of damaged houses as water rushed through villages.
Hundreds of survivors have sought shelter in schools in Peshawar and Muzaffarabad, many having escaped the floods with children on their backs.
“My family is sheltering in a school, but no clean drinking water, food or medicine has been given to us,” Fahimud Din, 27, from the Charsadda neighbourhood of Peshawar, told AFP.
“My son is suffering from cholera, but there is no doctor,” he said.
He joined scores of flood victims who demonstrated for a second day, protesting against the sluggish relief effort in Peshawar.
The crowd shouted “give us aid sent by foreign countries” and “death to the corrupt government.”
Pakistan’s military and the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) have been coordinating the relief effort, saying they have rescued more than 28,000 people in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa by helicopter and boat.
The NDMA said nearly 30,000 homes had been damaged across the country.
In Pakistani-administered Kashmir, flooding and landslides killed 53 people, said Mehmood Khan, the head of the local Disaster Management Authority.
Riaz Khawaja, a television cameraman, who walked to Muzaffarabad over four days from Neelum valley spoke of scenes of devastation.
“There is destruction everywhere along the way and severe food shortages have hit the Neelam valley
ISLAMABAD: The worst floods in memory in Pakistan have devastated the lives of more than three million people so far, a UN spokesman said on Tuesday, and fury over the unpopular government’s response to the crisis is spreading.
The catastrophe, which started almost a week ago and has killed more than 1,400 people, is likely to deepen as more rains are expected and conditions are ripe for the outbreak of disease.
Pakistani authorities are struggling to help flood victims, many of whom have lost everything and say they had not received any warnings raging waters were heading their way.
Anger was palpable in towns such as Charsadda. A Reuters reporter saw people attacking trucks distributing relief items.
Police then charged at them with batons.
Bistma Bibi, 65, who lost two grandsons in the floods, accused state relief workers of only helping friends or relatives.
“I came here at 5 o’clock in the morning. I did my best. I begged and fought but got nothing. They’re giving them (supplies) to their people,” she said.
Unicef spokesman Abdul Sami Malik told Reuters of the more than three million affected, 1.3 million people were severely impacted by the floods in the northwest, losing homes and livelihoods. More than 1,400 have died, he said.
Religious charities, some with suspected ties to militants, have stepped in to provide aid, piling pressure on the government to show it can take control.
“Since the flood hit our area, I did not see any food or relief packets from the government. Their offices have been washed away or damaged,” said school teacher Yar Mohammad, waiting to cross a makeshift bridge over a river in Swat Valley.
Religious groups played a key role in the relief effort following a 2005 earthquake in Kashmir that killed 75,000 people.
Trying times for government
The government faces resilient militants, who often try to capitalise on a lack of civil services to recruit disillusioned Pakistanis to take up arms against the state.
Authorities forecast more of the heavy monsoon rains that have been lashing the area for the past week. Pakistan’s National Disaster Management Authority said more than 29,500 houses were damaged and a key trade highway to China was blocked by flooding.
Waters have receded in some flooded areas. But Unicef’s Malik expressed concern that waters were spreading from the worst hit province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to Pakistan’s Punjab heartland, the major food-producing province, as well as the Sindh region.
Several parts of southern Punjab have been hit by floods.
The army said that 20,000 people have been rescued there.
In the northwest, the bloated, infected carcasses of animals floated on the water, raising the spectre of diseases such as cholera. Food prices are also rising sharply as agriculture has been wiped out, adding to the people’s misery.
“Roads to some districts are no longer there. Coping mechanisms of people are lost because they don’t have any assets to sell to buy food,” said Mohammad Rafiq from Unicef.
Source : dawn news
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 email@example.com
SHANDANA H. KHAN
CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER
NO 7, STREET 49, SECTOR F 6/4
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.
Millions in Pakistan need clean water, sanitary food, housing and medical care. Organizations are now on the ground helping those displaced by the worst floods in 80 years.
In Pakistan, an estimated 15 million (number increasing every minute) victims of the worst floods in 80 years are searching for hope. Hundreds of thousands have lost their homes, drinking water is filthy and contaminated, and food is scarce.
One look at the devastating images of men and women walking through brown water up to their chests makes all of us feel grateful for our comfortable — and dry — homes.
Here’s how you can support their efforts.
1.Hillary Clinton announced Wednesday that Americans could text the word“SWAT” to the number 50555 to donate $10 per SMS message to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees to provide tents, clothing, food, clean water and medicine to Pakistan. You can watch a video of her statement here .
2.American Red Cross seeks to raise $100,000 to aid its Pakistan equivalent — Pakistan Red Crescent — with teams on the ground providing food, other relief items and medical care. To donate, go to their website.
3.UNICEF is providing help with water, sanitation, health and nutrition for displaced children and families. To donate, please click here.
4.Stamford, Conn.-based AmeriCares is sending medical and other aid to the hardest-hit areas of the flood. Readers can donate through the AmeriCares website.
5.CARE needs donations for its health teams, mobile clinics and distribution of food, which will help 100,000 flood victims. To donate, go to their website.
6.Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres is providing water, sanitation help, hygiene kits, cooking utensils and other items to Pakistanis. Doctors Without Borders has also prepared itself to care for patients in case of cholera outbreaks. To donate to Doctors Without Borders, give to its emergency fund.
7.The International Rescue Committee , founded by Albert Einstein in 1933, is on the ground assessing the disaster, planning to make clean water accessible and to provide shelter to people who have lost their homes. To donate to the IRC’s efforts in Pakistan, click here.
8.The International Medical Corps (IMC) has sent mobile medical teams of doctors and paramedics to assist victims in the hardest hit areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province in the northwest. To make a donation to the Santa Monica, Calif. based organization, founded by a UCLA doctor, go to the IMC website. The organization is also seeking doctors, nurses and trained professionals from a wide variety of fields. For more information and to volunteer, visit the Corps‘ website.
9.Westport, Conn.-based Save the Children, dedicated to helping children worldwide, is already providing medical care, food and shelter kits. To donate to its Pakistan efforts,click here.
10. Mercy Corps’ Pakistan Emergency Fund supports Mercy Corps workers with their efforts in helping displaced families in the hard-hit Swat Valley. Visit the Mercy Corps website to donate to the Pakistan Emergency Fund.
11.Oxfam hopes to reach 400,000 people affected by the devastating floods, supplying clean water and preventing the spread of waterborne disease. To support Oxfam’s efforts, go to the Oxfam America website. Those outside the US can donate to its UK emergency relief fund for Pakistan.
12.The World Food Programme, the world’s largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger, is supplying food to the tens of thousands affected by the floods. To donate, visit the WFP website.
13.Islamic Relief Worldwide, a relief organization based in Birmingham, England, has launched a £2 million (or $3.2 million USD) appeal to deliver clean water, food and health care. You can donate here.
14. BRAC has temporarily halted its normal operations in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa to provide relief work. Due to the acute food shortage, BRAC Pakisan has begun to deliver food packets containing such items at rice, lentils, flour and water purification tables. In the immediate future, the team will also be distributing Oral Rehydration Salts (ORS) and sending out a medical team to begin assessing health needs. To donate, click here.
Courtesy: Tonic Staff