appeal no. 13/99
period covered: 26 May - 21 June 1999
24 June 1999
A cyclone struck the south-east coast of Pakistan, in the vicinity of the Indus delta, on 20 May, causing massive destruction to housing in the coastal towns and villages of the two districts of Badin and Thatta in Sindh province, and to agriculture and the fishing industry. At least 600,000 people in 5,200 villages were affected. and 191 people, mostly fishermen, were killed.
Several hundred persons remain missing and are presumed dead. Over 75,000 houses were destroyed and some 59,000 damaged. 400,000 acres of agricultural land were inundated with salt water and 28,000 head of livestock perished. 675 fishing boats were destroyed. Much of the infrastructure of the two districts -- roads, communications systems and electrical lines -- was damaged.
This storm had both immediate and long
term effects. This season's harvest has been destroyed, producing food
shortages. Agricultural land is not expected to return to normal levels
of production for two to three years. Without fishing boats and nets, communities
have lost their livelihood. The monsoon is expected in six weeks and shelter
is thus urgently needed. Injuries sustained in the storm, unclean water
and a proliferation of snakes have increased the need for medical care.
The government and army have completed their survey of the affected areas
and have made significant progress in repairing the local infrastructure.
The army has set up a clean water distribution system as well as stocks
of food for approximately four weeks. The government has paid approximately
CHF 250,000 to persons displaced by the cyclone. Fresh water has returned
to the channels and canals of the area. People are moving back to their
villages. Some are beginning to rebuild their lives. The worst affected,
mostly fishermen who have lost not only their homes but also their livelihood,
are totally dependent on assistance. They are often far from roads and
other infrastructure and many live on family islands scattered throughout
delta. Local people have donated food and clothing which have been distributed by local NGOs and the Red Crescent.
Red Cross/Red Crescent action
Now the acute emergency phase is over,
the PRCS has decided to identify the worst hit communities and focus its
relief efforts and rehabilitation support on them. This updated assessment
of the needs and capacities of the affected people is being done by the
Sindh provincial PRCS with input from the government and the Federation
Relief Delegate who arrived in Karachi on 19 June. This revised assessment
is expected to be completed in one week's time.
The PRCS has established roving medical clinics. These are not only providing immediate medical assistance but are also helping the PRCS to identify the most needy.
The Federation Relief Delegate is a member of the Comparative Bid Analysis Committee. Requests for quotations for goods to be distributed according to the Federation appeal are being publicised nationally, with the actual tendering being conducted by the NHQ of the PRCS. Both the NHQ and the PRCS Sindh branch will be involved in ensuring quality and quantity control. Distribution is controlled by the Sindh branch. A report on the quantities of goods distributed so far is expected shortly.
The relief items identified in the Federation
appeal, i.e.. tents, building supplies and tools, domestic items, food
parcels and medical supplies, will provide immediate assistance to victims
and also help to set them on the road to recovery. However, some longer
term needs are already evident: people need help in re-establishing their
capability to feed themselves, and basic transportation is required. Fishing
boats and nets are important items for the people of the Indus delta,.
since besides providing a livelihood the boats in some cases also serve
as homes. These items may be added to the Appeal when the current assessment
has been completed.
External relations - Government/UN/NGOs/Media Co-ordination of the relief effort is under the auspices of the government Relief Co-ordinator who is in touch with all the agencies and organisations operating in the area. There is limited direct co-ordination between agencies, and between agencies and the Red Cross/ Red Crescent. One meeting, to which all agencies were invited, was held on 12 June.
See Annex 1 for details.
Once procurements have been completed and the new assessment has been finalised, the relief operation will move ahead, providing the worst hit members of the community with urgently needed goods and also some of the basic support needed for economic recovery and rehabilitation. Any revised needs will be indicated in subsequent reports.
Asia & Pacific Department
Operations Funding and Reporting Department
This and other reports on Federation operations are available on the Federation's website: http://www.ifrc.org