The flooding is the worst Pakistan has seen since 1929 and is concentrated in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province (formerly known as North West Frontier Province), the same region that was devastated by a massive earthquake in 2005. Because roads, bridges and communication lines have suffered severe damage, the government is having difficulty meeting the population's needs.
AJWS's grantee partners have assessed needs in the affected areas and are already mobilizing to provide support for victims of the flooding. They are distributing food packets and essential medicines to those who are stranded, erecting temporary shelters, facilitating access to clean water in relief camps and working with government and local authorities to expedite larger-scale efforts.
"As in any disaster, the poor are disproportionally affected," said Ruth Messinger, AJWS's president. "With government unable to respond to many of their needs, it is crucial that organizations work through established networks to get resources into the right hands so the impact can be maximized. This has always been our approach to disaster response and remains so in Pakistan."
AJWS has been providing emergency support in Pakistan since the 2005 earthquake and currently has five grantee partners in the country.
Funds raised will enable AJWS's grantee partners to distribute Aid-Bags to affected families in the worst hit areas. These Aid-Bags contain essentials: food, water, pots, pans, and other necessities that will sustain these families for a week to 10 days. AJWS's grantee partners will also be distributing clothes and scarves to women who lost their belongings in the floods and who, as a result, have been forced to remain indoors to avoid harassment and violence.
The totality of the flood's devastation remains unknown, but Pakistan is sure to experience profound long-term consequences. According to an initial assessment, U.N. officials report that 3.2 million hectares of standing crops have been damaged or lost in the provinces of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab alone. At least 200,000 head of livestock have been lost and many more will die without proper feed and veterinary support.
AJWS will be working with its partners over the coming months to assess and respond to the long-term needs of affected communities. With additional funding, AJWS will expand its initial response effort to support relief and rehabilitation, with the aim of assisting local communities in the reconstruction of their physical surroundings and creating economic opportunities.
To ensure the safety and wellbeing of its partners, AJWS does not list its Pakistan grantees on its website or publicize them by name. Donations can be made at www.ajws.org/pakistanemergency or by check made out to American Jewish World Service. All checks should include "Pakistan Flood Relief" in the memo line and should be sent to American Jewish World Service, 45 West 36th Street, 11th floor, New York, NY 10018-7904.
About American Jewish World Service:
American Jewish World Service (AJWS) is an international development organization motivated by Judaism's imperative to pursue justice. AJWS is dedicated to alleviating poverty, hunger and disease among the people of the developing world regardless of race, religion or nationality. Through grants to grassroots organizations, volunteer service, advocacy and education, AJWS fosters civil society, sustainable development and human rights for all people, while promoting the values and responsibilities of global citizenship within the Jewish community.