Islamic Relief is providing emergency shelters for people who have lost their homes and hygiene kits to stop the spread of disease in the wake of torrential monsoon rains that have caused floods in 23 out of the 24 districts of Sindh province in southern Pakistan.
The floods have killed over 200 people and affected around five million, many of whom have received inadequate help since the floods of 2010 – the worst in the country’s history. Nearly a million houses have been damaged or destroyed, and around 200,000 people are living in tents or in makeshift camps in schools and government buildings.
Islamic Relief has an office in Sindh, located in Thatta, and from there it is organising shelter and distributing hygiene kits in Badin – one of the worst affected areas. It aims to assist 30,000 displaced families, supporting the relief operation spearheaded by Pakistan’s military and the government’s disaster management authorities.
“These floods have inflicted more misery on communities devastated by flooding only a year ago,” says Islamic Relief’s Habib Malik, who returned from a visit to Pakistan a week ago and is going back there on September 18th. “Some were still living in temporary shelters when the latest floods came because the international response to the 2010 floods was woefully inadequate and left the UN $600 million short of the funds it needed to get communities back on their feet.
“Islamic Relief mounted an extensive relief and rebuilding programme last year. Our staff in Sindh are now providing immediate assistance and are ready to help people rebuild. We will also continue to put the case for Pakistan’s government and donor countries to invest more in flood prevention and in flood and earthquake-resistant housing of the type that we ourselves have been building. With climate change floods like these are becoming more frequent and severe, and it is not good enough simply to provide emergency aid without helping people to be less vulnerable to future floods.”
It is feared that a further 100,000 people may be displaced - further thunderstorms and heavy rain are forecast in Sindh, eastern Balochistan, Punjab and Kashmir.
To arrange an interview with Habib Malik or Islamic Relief field staff in Pakistan please contact Safiya Sayed Baharun (0207 593 3241 / 07872 403 534 / firstname.lastname@example.org). Islamic Relief’s recent report (July 2011) on the lessons of the 2010 floods can be downloaded from www.islamic-relief.org.uk/Flooded_and_Forgotten.aspx
September 16 2011