Pakistan: Agencies bring flood relief

[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]
ISLAMABAD, 20 Jul 2005 (IRIN) - The UN World Food Programme (WFP) is preparing to distribute some 7,850 food packs amongst the flood affected people in the northern parts of the country, where heavy flooding over past four weeks have displaced some 10,000 persons while an estimated 45,000 left in immediate need of food support.

"We are coordinating with Islamic Relief (IR) and International Rescue Committee (IRC) to distribute food supplies amongst Pakistani as well Afghan refugee families in three badly flood hit districts of Peshawar, Nowshera and Charsadda in NWFP [North West Frontier Province] and also in northern areas," Sahib-e-Haq working with WFP, said in Islamabad on Wednesday.

Heavy winter snowfall in the northern terrain of Pakistan and Afghanistan and subsequent above normal high temperatures of June and July caused massive flooding across Pakistan's northern region.

According to the NWFP relief department, alongside displacements flooding incurred huge losses to cropping fields of over 33,000 hectares in seven districts, while over 1,100 houses were demolished and another more than 1,800 were damaged partially.

The NWFP provincial government earlier this month appealed donors and UN organisations for help in providing relief and rehabilitation of flood-affected population.

"Some 1,780 food packs - each of 50 kg wheat flour, 10kg pulses and 5kg oil - would be distributed to 335 families of Afghan refugees and 1,445 those of Pakistani in Charsadda district," Shafeeq-ur-Rehman, coordinator of relief activities of Islamic Relief, Pakistan told IRIN in Islamabad. Earlier this month, the IR has distributed nearly 1,000 packs of animal fodder, weighing 135 kg each, amongst the deserving families of Peshawar, Nowshera and Charsadda districts.

Of WFP food distribution programme, the IRC Pakistan would cover some 5,220 families including 1,995 those of Afghan refugees in Peshawar and Nowshera districts. "The distribution would start early next week," Suleman Khan, managing emergency relief programme said from NWFP provincial capital, Peshawar.

The UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) has also dispatched relief packages containing non-food items including hygiene kits and water purifying tablets.

Meanwhile, the UN World Health Organisation (WHO) has provided three new emergency health kits to benefit some 30,000 people for three months.

Alongside government bodies, several international as well as national charities and development agencies are extending emergency relief support to flood-hit communities of NWFP.

However, according to humanitarian workers dealing with the immediate concern of provision of food, clean drinking water, health, shelter and livestock fodder to flood-hit communities, one needs to look into the long term rehabilitation of the displaced and affected population.


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