Emergency Relief Coordinator’s Key Messages on Pakistan 07 July 2011 - Issue Number 12
I. Key Messages
This month will mark the one year anniversary of the 2010 floods in Pakistan – one of the world’s most devastating natural disasters in recent times. About one-fifth of the country was submerged by the flood waters, affecting over 20 million people and resulting in some 14 million people in need of humanitarian aid. Thanks to the efforts of the Government of Pakistan, the Pakistani military, the aid community, civil society and the people of Pakistan themselves, a major humanitarian operation over many months saved thousands of lives. The humanitarian community provided food for seven million people, safe drinking water for eight million and medicines for 12 million.
In spite of these impressive efforts, the sheer magnitude of the disaster outpaced the response. The floodwaters killed livestock, destroyed crops, damaged infrastructure and other livelihood assets on an unprecedented scale. Families affected by the floods continue to need support to rebuild their livelihoods. At the end of January 2011, the Government of Pakistan concluded the relief phase of the floods response and shifted the focus of assistance to recovery needs.
More than US$ 600 million is still needed to support early recovery activities and achieve the objectives set out in the Pakistan Flood Relief and Early Recovery Response Plan. These activities are essential for the affected population to restart a normal life and include rehabilitating water wells, refurbishing the primary health care system and rebuilding schools. The 2011 monsoon is about to start and up to two million people are again at risk from flooding, partly due to lack of funds for reconstruction. Major efforts are needed immediately to reduce the vulnerability of these families and implement urgent recovery and flood preparedness work on river banks, irrigation channels and other infrastructure.
Although the first response to this year’s monsoon will be provided by the Government of Pakistan (GoP), the international community has prepared contingency plans to enable an effective response to any humanitarian needs that may arise, in support of the Government. Those preparedness measures have taken into account lessons learned and needs identified from the monsoon flood response of 2010. Some of the preparedness measures are already being implemented, such as the pre-positioning of tents and the establishment of coordination structures with the government. However much more needs to be done and resources are insufficient to ensure that key measures are put in place. In particular, I am extremely concerned that the lack of funds is preventing the pre-positioning of necessary medical supplies and the continuation beyond July of the district level Disease Early Warning System.
In north-western Pakistan, nearly one million people are displaced and vulnerable as a result of on-going hostilities in several areas of FATA and further displacement of civilians continues. Priority needs include food, income opportunities and assistance with rent/shelter. The humanitarian community urgently requires additional funding to support displaced people and returnees. The US$ 661 million Pakistan Humanitarian Response Plan for the internally displaced people of KPK and FATA, launched in February 2011, still has a funding gap of 50%. Relief activities in health, education, shelter and protection under this plan continue and a contingency plan has been finalized by the humanitarian community for possible future displacement in the province.
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