Pakistan

Pakistan: Flood-hit communities still in dire need

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ISLAMABAD, 7 July (IRIN) - Flood-affected populations along 60 to 70 km of the Kabul Kabul River in Pakistan's North West Frontier Province (NWFP) remain in dire need of daily rations and shelter, according to humanitarian workers in the Peshawar, Charsadda and Nowshera districts of the province. There's also a high risk of disease outbreak in the absence of proper medical facilities as stomach and skin related diseases are on increase in flood-hit areas.

"The flood affected families include mostly daily wage labourers and small farmers whose mud-houses have been either demolished or are not in a liveable condition after the water has receded. Moreover, there is a dire shortage of edible items at the moment since these poor people sustain on daily basis for rations," said Maulvi Mehboob-ur-Rehman, coordinator of the flood relief efforts of Karachi-based charity, Al-Rashid Trust speaking from the provincial capital, Peshawar.

According to the Trust, so far two tent camps have been established in and around Peshawar where over 170 families are living in about 100 tents. The camps are being provided with rations including flour, rice, oil, sugar and tea. Mobile health clinics are also being established Rehman added.

"But mostly the poor people are without any fodder for their cattle," said Rehman. "With our limited resources we are unable to cover [provide] that."

In some areas milk shortages are also being reported, he said. About nine people have been reported dead so far in flood-related incidents and another over 10,000 have been displaced, according to the provincial relief department. However, as the water levels in both the Kabul and Swat rivers are now falling gradually, the situation is slowly returning to normal.

In addition to setting up emergency flood relief centres to provide food and medical assistance in the affected districts, teams of veterinary surgeons have also been sent to the flood affected areas, said a press statement issued by the NWFP relief cell. The department has also been carrying out an assessment of the damage to property and crops in the affected areas.

"As the water is receding, the problem of shelter is becoming serious. The poor population has few resources to re-build their houses and manage their livelihood at the same time," said Al-Rashid Trust workers.

Meanwhile, some international NGOs providing relief resources have also been planning to launch assistance programmes for flood-hit communities. The Pakistan chapter of the UK-based charity, Islamic Relief (IR) has plans to provide fodder for some 600 large animals including buffaloes and cows for about 15 days in all of the three most flood affected districts of NWFP.

The US-based relief and developmental agency, Catholic Relief Service (CRS) is also about to provide a relief package of food rations and water containers to about 1,000 families for one month. CRS will also supply 250 multi-purpose plastic sheets to flood victims.

Poor farming communities with small pieces of agricultural land who live between Warsak and on beyond Nowshera on the banks of the river Kabul normally survive on income from their animals or by growing vegetables and crops like maize and fodder. Theirs is a bare subsistence economy.

"But this all has been severely damaged and they have not any available coping mechanism," Rehman explained.

[ENDS]

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