Aid reaches hundreds of thousands in flood-hit Pakistan

05/08/2010

The Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) has revealed that aid from its members is now reaching over 300,000 survivors after the worst floods in Pakistan’s history.

The north-western Swat Valley took the brunt of the monsoon floods over the weekend but swollen rivers have now carried floodwaters to Punjab province - Layyah, Mianwali and Kota Adu have faced massive destruction. Millions of people have lost homes or livelihoods. Waters have washed away thousands of acres of crops, government buildings, schools, bridges and railway tracks.

Authorities fear that the floods are now expanding southwards towards Pakistan’s Sindh province as further embankments burst covering more low-lying territories. The disaster has already claimed the lives of 1,600 people and affected over 4 million.

Disasters Emergency Committee Chief Executive Brendan Gormley said:

“These devastating floods have left millions fighting to survive with little food, clean water or shelter. As monsoon rains continue unabated, it is clear that the situation is deteriorating and the speed of our response is vital.

“DEC member agencies and their partners have already reached over three hundred thousand people on the ground but with roads and bridges damaged the challenges we face are considerable. We urgently need the public’s help to save more lives.”

Actor Art Malik and broadcaster John McCarthy have fronted the ITV and BBC appeals respectively.

Members of the DEC are grappling with serious logistical difficulties to bring aid into the affected areas but significant aid has already been delivered. For example:

  • Oxfam have helped 182,000 people, by providing clean water and hot food. They have also deployed 17 emergency boats to assist government search and rescue efforts, evacuating 80,000 people
  • Islamic Relief have delivered hygiene kits to 14,000 people as well as tents.
  • Save the Children have distributed food to 48,000 people. They have also delivered shelter kits, medicine and hygiene kits by raft, boat and donkey.
  • Merlin have provided 300 medical experts treating over 4000 people. They have set up 18 health clinics and six mobile teams delivering water purification tablets, dry food and basic survival kits.

A summary of all other DEC Member Agency efforts can be found here.

Controlling infectious diseases and diarrhoea in the coming days will be a major challenge. Reports have already emerged of cholera cases in the Swat Valley.

To make a donation to the DEC Pakistan appeal call the 24 hour hotline on 0370 60 60 900, visit http://www.dec.org.uk or donate over the counter at any post office or high street bank, or send a cheque. You can also donate £5 by texting the word GIVE to 70707 – see details below.

Anyone wanting to stay up to date with developments in Pakistan, the emergency response and the fundraising efforts can follow the DEC on twitter at http://twitter.com/decappeal or become a fan of ‘Disasters-Emergency-Committee-DEC’ on Facebook.

ENDS

Notes to editors:

  • To make a postal donation make cheques payable to ‘DEC Pakistan Floods Appeal’ and mail to ‘PO Box 999, London, EC3A 3AA’.
  • Donations can be made at any high street bank.
  • To donate at a Post Office quote Freepay 1384.
  • To donate £5 by text send the word GIVE to 70707. A standard network rate charge will apply.
  • The DEC consists of: Action Aid, Age UK, British Red Cross, CAFOD, CARE International UK, Christian Aid, Concern Worldwide, Islamic Relief, Merlin, Oxfam, Save the Children, Tearfund, World Vision.