19 September 2011 The United Nations and its partners are asking donors to fund a $357 million plan to help the Pakistani Government provide vital assistance to more than five million people affected by massive flooding in the country’s south.
The plan, launched yesterday in the Pakistani capital, Islamabad, aims to provide food, water, sanitation, health care, and emergency shelter to the most-affected families for six months. It is similar to a plan launched last year in the wake of the devastating floods that affected some 20 million people, resulted in some 2,000 deaths and submerged about a fifth of the country.
“One year after the largest floods in recent history, the people of Pakistan are in desperate need again. We cannot let them down,” said Valerie Amos, the UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator.
“More than five million people are struggling to survive massive flooding across southern Pakistan, and the rains continue to fall,” she said. “They have lost their homes, their possessions and their livelihoods. The next few days will be crucial, as the UN and partners help the Government to get food, safe water and shelter to the most vulnerable.”
This year’s monsoon rains and flooding have affected an estimated 5.4 million people in the provinces of Sindh and Balochistan, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), which warns that the humanitarian crisis is growing as the rains continue to fall across the south.
Nearly 1 million homes have been destroyed and 72 per cent of crops have been lost in the worst-affected areas. In Sindh province, 22 out of 23 districts have been flooded, and 16 need particularly urgent assistance.
“The United Nations and its humanitarian partners are working tirelessly to support Government-led efforts to provide food, water, health care and emergency shelter to the families worst hit by the floods,” said Timo Pakkala, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Pakistan.
“Despite our efforts, the needs are growing. We urge the international community to fully support the rapid response plan in order to save lives,” he said.
The UN and its partners, who are supporting the primarily Government-led emergency response effort, have so far distributed more than 20,000 shelter kits and sets of household goods, as well as 530,000 plastic sheets.
In addition, more than 650,000 people have received medicines and medical care, and 500,000 people will receive food aid by the end of September. Agencies are also aiming to provide 400,000 people with access to safe drinking water over the coming days.
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