DEC publishes evaluation of early Pakistan floods aid effort

30/06/2011

The DEC has today published an independent assessment of the aid efforts of its member agencies during the first four months after the 2010 Pakistan Floods.

The report found that DEC agencies built on their existing presence and partnerships in north west Pakistan to rapidly reach survivors, and successfully focused on the most immediate needs of the most vulnerable groups of displaced people.

Pakistan Floods 2010: The DEC Real-Time Evaluation Report was produced by the ThinkAhead international development consultancy. This type of evaluation is primarily designed as a tool to help DEC member agencies learn from each other’s experiences during the first phase of a disaster response. 

The DEC today also revealed for the first time that its Pakistan Floods Appeal raised a final total of £71m, the third highest total ever raised by the DEC after the appeals for the 2004 tsunami and 2010 Haiti earthquake.  The DEC itself raised £41m and member agencies raised £30m towards the appeal.  Member agencies spent £17m of the £41m collected by the DEC in the first six months after the disaster to help 1.8 million people. 

The assistance provided included:

  • Emergency shelter for 290,000 people
  • Clean water for 510,000 people
  • Safe toilets for 160,000 people
  • Medical consultations for 37,000 patients
  • Help to restart farming for 26,000 people

The monsoon rains which began to hit Pakistan in late July 2010 were the most severe in the country’s 80 year history. They caused immediate flash flooding in the mountains of the north west of the country and ultimately flood waters worked their way south, through the Indus and other river systems, to engulf an area the size of the UK.

Although the UK public and government have been generous in their support of those affected by the floods, the report noted that the most serious risks in the early aid effort arose from the mismatch between the massive scale of the disaster and the relatively paucity of global funding available in the early stages of the response.

This early funding gap contributed to delays of several weeks in DEC members extending a large scale response from the north west of the country into the more southerly provinces of Punjab, Balochistan and Sindh, which were also badly affected as the flood waters spread down the river Indus.

The report also found that DEC agencies initially struggled to meet the most urgent needs of the worst affected survivors as they began returning in vast numbers from temporary camps to their ruined villages within weeks of being displaced.

DEC Chief Executive Brendan Gormley said:

“All disasters are a tragedy for those caught up in them but the Pakistan floods were exceptional because of the vast number of people affected. 

“The response to our appeal was extremely generous and the UK public can be proud that the massive aid effort they helped fund has already provided support to 1.8 million people.

“Our real time evaluations are part of our commitment to learn from everything we do.  They focus not on our achievements but on what we could do better, even in the challenging circumstances we face in places such as Pakistan.”

“The DEC and its members are committed to publishing these reviews because we believe in sharing what we learn, and in being open with and accountable to both disaster affected communities and donors.”

“The new website that we will shortly launch and our forthcoming 2010-11 annual report will help us make details of how we spend donor money not just more available but also more accessible.”

Up to 21 million people were affected by the Pakistan Floods with 12 million seeing their homes damaged or completely destroyed. The vast scale of the tragedy means that many people still need very substantial help to rebuild their lives.  The report’s authors noted these numbers exceeded “...the combined total of individuals affected by the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, the 2005 Kashmir earthquake and the 2010 Haiti earthquake”.