Monsoon rains in early to mid September have caused ongoing floods in the provinces of Punjab, Sindh, and Balochistan, southern Pakistan. An estimated 4.5 million people have been affected in some way. More than 300,000 people have been forced to move to relief camps. 89 percent of those affected did not receive any flood warnings.
Waleed Rauf, Country Director of CARE Pakistan, said, “In some areas most of the population is still under the open sky without any shelter and waiting for some relief. People are urgently in need of shelter, clean water, and medical care.”
No major further flooding is expected, but relief and recovery efforts are just beginning. Many roads remain under water and some areas continue to be inaccessible – boats are being used to deliver relief items. 1.1 million acres of crops were destroyed and hundreds of thousands of houses and thousands of schools have been damaged.
Water disease risk
In Rajanpur, one of the worst-affected districts of Punjab province, CARE has identified a major risk of widespread water-borne diseases. The floods have contaminated sources of drinking water, including wells, and many people are already suffering from diarrhoea and stomach worms.
Cases are likely to increase substantially as some illnesses will not present symptoms immediately. In addition, the destruction of latrines and other sanitation facilities has led to a decline in public hygiene and health services are lacking in many areas.
The floods have destroyed vital crops in this district and have put livelihoods and food supplies at risk. Around 75 per cent of the total crop area in Rajanpur was destroyed, including sugarcane, rice, maize and cotton which was due to be harvested very soon.
The most urgent needs on the ground in the most affected districts are tents, relief camps, clean water and food supplies, and hygiene kits.
Mobile medical clinics
With your help, CARE has begun to respond, establishing mobile medical clinics in areas where medical help is not easy to reach. These mobile medical clinics travel from village to village, especially in less accessible areas. They are staffed with both male and female doctors.
CARE is placing a particular focus on emergency reproductive health care. Many of the women affected by the flood are pregnant or have recently given birth.
CARE is also planning to provide small cash grants and to support payment for reconstructive work, to help people purchase essentials like food and rebuild their homes.