Situation Report #24 - 2012 Monsoon Flood Response, Pakistan
Floods resulting from monsoon rains have affected nearly 5 million people, damaging over 630,000 houses in the worst-hit districts in Pakistan. Whilst the humanitarian community is continuing relief operations, the lack of adequate housing, food, clean water and medical assistance due to insufficient funding, feeds a vicious circle where women and children deprived of these basic needs are more prone to disease and other complications from malnutrition, exposure, and cold weather.
“The temperature is dropping, and that is causing an increase in respiratory problems and other health conditions,” said Stacey Winston, spokesperson in Pakistan for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
Hoping that the flood waters would have receded by now, 97 percent of the displaced people have returned to their villages. However, according to the latest UNOCHA reports, nearly all of them are staying in temporary shelters, next to their damaged homes and still need assistance. The remaining 3 percent of people are living in camp-like settings sheltering in tents, schools and health facilities and struggling to fight the cold in the absence of warm clothes, enough blankets, and proper shelter. Besides this, communities are unable to restore livelihoods due to standing water in their land. According to the latest UNOCHA bulletin, “Many farming communities will miss the winter cropping season in Sindh.”
According to the early findings of the Livelihood Recovery Appraisal conducted by the Food Security Cluster, floods in three successive years have taken their toll on livelihoods. Flood-affected people from past years (2010 and 2011) in Jaffarabad have contracted debt (at least 20 per cent in the last 6 months), and 16 per cent have gone into debt to purchase food. The third consecutive year of flooding in the same districts has had a devastating effect on the livelihoods of the people of the districts: in Jaffarabad, an estimated 95 per cent of standing crops were affected or destroyed, and 50 per cent of agriculture and livestock based livelihood families were affected. Currently, the Food Security cluster– like the other clusters - is in the process of conducting a detailed food security assessment for Monsoon 2012 in the seven most flood-affected districts of Punjab, Sindh and Balochistan.
Wheat represents a major food and income source for these families and the loss of the season will set families back with further debt, and less food and income for the upcoming year.
Support for livestock survival, including veterinary services, feed/fodder and clean water as well as cash are currently the critical priorities in all districts hit by the floods if livelihoods are to be restored3. According to UNOCHA, the UN appeal for humanitarian assistance for floods 2012 still lacks 120 million US dollars, even three months after the disaster began. Funding for the nutrition cluster stands at 28 percent; WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) is at 8 percent, health is at 6 percent, and shelter is at just 5 percent.
“The need to prepare the nation for disasters is not only the need of the moment but is the ultimate solution to the continuous stream of floods that might continue in the coming days due to aggravated global climate” said Chairman NDMA, Dr Zafar Iqbal Qadir in a workshop on Mainstreaming Disaster Risk Management in Agriculture and Food Security Sector.
Humanitarian partners need funding to alleviate the suffering of millions of flood-affected people.
Key Advocacy Messages:
Immediate humanitarian relief needs to be provided to over 5million vulnerable people left destitute and without means to recover from the floods.
Malnutrition rates in some of the flood-affected districts were already beyond emergency thresholds and are worse than in some places in sub-Saharan Africa.
INGOs and other humanitarian actors need support in mobilizing additional resources both locally and globally for humanitarian programs in flood-affected districts, without the modification of existing programs.
Children’s needs and rights should be made a top priority by all actors, through recognizing that climate related crises in Pakistan including floods and droughts are child survival emergencies because of the health and protection risks faced by millions of children.
Floods and monsoon information systems, including community vulnerability indices, need to be improved to allow for more accurate predictions and more timely and robust humanitarian response and recovery programs.