Pakistan in need of huge humanitarian assistance

The people need food, drinking water, medical care and temporary emergency shelter if the death toll from the floods must fall.

By Syedah Iram Zaidi

BEIJING— (September 27—M4Relay)—Present estimates indicate that over two thousand people have died and over a million homes have been destroyed since the floods began. It is estimated that more than 21 million people are injured or homeless as a result of the floods, exceeding the combined total of individuals affected by the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, the 2005 Kashmir earthquake and the 2010 Haiti earthquake. At one point, approximately one-fifth of Pakistan’s total land area was underwater due to the flooding.

More than 100,000 children left homeless by Pakistan’s floods are in danger of dying because they simply do not have enough to eat. Children already weak from living on too little food in poor rural areas before the floods are fighting to stay alive, as diarrhea, respiratory diseases and malaria attack their emaciated bodies.

Pakistan’s flood crisis has damaged more than 10,000 schools, affecting several million pupils and requiring massive investment in a nation struggling with literacy. Some 100,000 more people have been displaced after a lake burst in southern Pakistan where massive floods have already affected millions of people.

Many Pakistani newspapers reports suspect India over worst flood situation in Pakistan. India gave warning that they can send some extra water to the Sutlej River in Pakistan which spread a big panic in many areas in Pakistan. Still, there are some predictions that Pakistan is in danger of water from India.

As well as the more 1,000 deaths in Pakistan, at least 60 people have died across the border in Afghanistan, where floods have affected four provinces. There have been complaints that emergency shelters have been inadequate or even non-existent

The biggest challenge for the emergency services is access, as so many areas had their transport and communication links destroyed and are now isolated.

People of Pakistan, fear that once access to affected areas improves, the full picture will show that the situation is much worse than is so far known.

Floodwaters receded in some areas as weather conditions improved, but more rain is now forecast.

Part of the main north-south motorway into the region was re-opened recently, before reportedly closing again. The brief opening allowed some aid supplies into the flooded area while also permitting people to flee.

The rain may have stopped but huge swathes of north-west Pakistan remain submerged, with many of those affected still stranded and waiting for help.

According to Pakistani media reports survivors of the worst-affected areas were desperate for drinking water. All the wells which are providing water for them are full of mud. Among the children the diarrhoea has started already and cholera is wide spread.

There is a desperate need for temporary shelter, clean drinking water and toilets to avert a public health catastrophe.

The floods began in July 2010 following heavy monsoon rains in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Sindh, Punjab and Balochistan regions of Pakistan.

The international communities should intensify efforts at taking food, medical care, and improving the general accommodation and living conditions in Pakistan.

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