Pakistan floods: Situation worsening daily

17/08/2010

Caritas Australia is urgently calling for support to respond to the escalating humanitarian tragedy unfolding in Pakistan with an estimated 20 million people affected, millions homeless and water borne diseases and illness spreading rapidly.

Caritas Australia CEO Jack de Groot said death toll is expected to rise dramatically with more flooding predicted.

“Reports are indicating 20 million people are affected by the heavy flooding - nearly equivalent to Australia’s entire population,” Mr de Groot said. “The scale of this tragedy is simply enormous. It’s affecting more people than the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami,  the 2005 Kashmir and this year’s Haiti earthquakes combined.”

“As the days go on, the situation is becoming more precarious for everyone, with the sick, old, frail and very young being the most susceptible to disease and illness. Water borne illnesses and diseases like cholera and diarrhea are threatening the survivors. Many people have lost everything. Their livestock have died, crops have been destroyed, houses washed away and their livelihoods washed away with it.”

Caritas is working through local partners on the ground to respond to the needs immediate needs of food, water and shelter by delivering hygiene and shelter kits, including water purification tablets.

“Many of the people affected were already very poor. Most have no back up plan, no savings, no insurance and nowhere else to go. As the reality of their situation sets in for victims, frustration, despair and a feeling of loss will start to have a psychological impact on survivors,” Mr de Groot said.

“When it stops raining and the floods subside, these people will need even more support. Caritas Australia will still be there working with communities to improve hygiene practices, provide access to clean water, repair community infrastructure through cash for work projects and provide emergency shelter.

“By supporting our South Asia Floods Appeal – Pakistan, you are helping to restore dignity to people who have suffered enormous loss and to offer them a sense of hope for the future.”

To support Caritas Australia's appeal, visit Caritas Australia or call the donation hotline on 1800 024 413.


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