In recent weeks, Monsoon rains broke the century record and dumped more than five times the average of the past 30 years in some provinces. These floods have killed “more than 1,200 people, including about 400 children”, said UNICEF Representative Abdullah Fadil.
With this bad weather, the United Nations now fears “major health risks”. For example, the World Health Organization (WHO) warns of the threat of the further spread of malaria, dengue, and other waterborne and vector-borne diseases.
Today, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) announced the mobilization of resources and staff to expand assistance to Pakistan, as well as support local communities and refugees in areas devastated by catastrophic floods.
“Officers working in the country report that the scale of destruction is unimaginable. Many people are living in the open, waiting for help urgently sought by local authorities and the humanitarian community. Other people found shelter in the camps or in other people’s houses,” the UNHCR said.
To help alleviate the most pressing needs, UNHCR is distributing tents, blankets, plastic sheets, buckets and other household items in the provinces of Khyber Pakhtunkwa and Baluchistan, which are among the worst affected. It is also sending supplies to Sindh and plans to assist some 50,000 households in the most devastated areas with more than a million essential supplies. According to preliminary estimates, almost 3,500 km of roads and 150 bridges were damaged.
Due to the ongoing weeks of heavy monsoon rains and floods over vast areas of Pakistan, approximately 33 million people were affected, more than 1,100 people died, and about 1,600 were injured.
The director of the World Food Program (WFP) in Pakistan also highlighted the logistical challenges posed by flooding to bring vital assistance to the affected population in a country where many people needed help before the disaster.
“The situation in Pakistan was dire even before the floods with 43% of Pakistanis food insecure. There was a big problem with the region as a whole, including Afghanistan, where the biggest challenge would be restarting agricultural production that would help feed the people. WFP was increasingly concerned about how the floods would affect the people of Afghanistan,” said Chris Kaye.
Last week, the UN launched a humanitarian appeal of 160 million dollars to cover the needs of 5.2 million people affected by the floods in Pakistan.