Call for support: 13.8 million people affected by Pakistan flooding

12/08/2010

A humanitarian disaster of massive proportions is developing in Pakistan with an estimated 13.8 million people affected by the worst floods the country has seen in decades.

Caritas Australia CEO Jack de Groot has urged Australians to give generously to the Caritas Australia South Asia Floods Appeal - Pakistan so that Caritas and its partners can continue to provide the emergency relief these people so desperately need.

“The situation in Pakistan at the moment is horrendous. Almost 14 million people are in need of urgent emergency assistance,” Mr de Groot said.

The torrential rain over the last ten days has seen thousands of people evacuated from the flood waters after losing everything; their house, belongings, businesses, livestock and crops. With floodwaters contaminating water sources and damaging pipes, people have little or no access to clean water or sanitation, increasing the risk of water borne diseases. The speed and scale of the floods caught many communities off guard. More than 1,600 people have lost their lives already and the rain continues.

“The task of getting assistance to the communities is incredibly challenging, with roads and bridges damaged or completely swept away and landslides adding to the isolation and destruction of many areas,” Mr de Groot said.

“Continuing bad weather has hampered the relief effort by grounding aid and medical helicopters. Caritas’s local partners have continued with their rapid response despite the challenges, transporting medical and food supplies by rope-pulley systems over swollen rivers and via donkey.

Significant increase in emergency reponse needed

“Our relief effort in the country is underway with local partners responding to the community’s immediate needs: food, water and shelter by delivering hygiene and shelter kits, including water purification tablets to people in the severely affected areas of Shangla, Kohistan, and Swat Districts in the North West of the country.

“But the emergency response needs to be significantly increased. I urge all Australians to dig deep to support partners in Pakistan to deliver this much needed assistance.”

Caritas Australia will work with communities to improve hygiene practices, provide access to clean water, repair community infrastructure and provide emergency shelter, to at least 60,000 people over the next ten months.

Caritas will also initiate cash for work projects which will not only provide income generation support to people who have lost everything but will repair damaged infrastructure like water pipes and toilet blocks.

“Caritas Australia will be helping Pakistani communities during and after the headlines of this massive disaster. We are responding to an urgent need but Caritas will be there for the long-term,” Mr de Groot said.

“In order to implement our response effectively and ease the suffering of thousands of people, we urgently need your support.”

To find out how you can help, visit Caritas Australia


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