THE 2010 MONSOON BEGINS
Late July 2010 marked a particularly tragic period in Pakistan’s history. In the north, three days of unstoppable rain caused the Indus River to swell, creating a massive body of water that moved from the Himalayas, southwards to the Arabian Sea. The effects on the country’s already impoverished population and infrastructure were immediate and catastrophic. As the disaster unfolded it was to become more destructive than the Haiti earthquake and the Japan tsunami combined.
Out of a population of 168 million, 20 million people were affected by the raging waters, losing their homes and livelihoods, mainly across the provinces of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab, and Sindh. The floods also affected people in Balochistan, Gilgit-Baltistan, and Pakistan-Administered-Kashmir. More than 1700 people died, more than 7 million were left homeless and at least 1.8 million homes were destroyed. Over 2.4 million hectares of standing crops were submerged, and 450,000 heads of livestock lost, crippling the country’s “bread basket.”
At the beginning of August the international humanitarian community, including the 40 members of the Pakistan Humanitarian Forum began rolling out emergency programs across multiple sectors to meet the needs of 14 million in need of humanitarian assistance. The emergency relief plan included:
• Food assistance
• Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH)
• Public health education
• On and Off-farm Livelihoods and food security programs
,Cash-for-work and cash grants
• Agriculture and Livestock restoration
• Rehabilitation of schools and community infrastructures
At the end of January 2011, the main Relief Operation came to an end, with the exception of parts of five districts in Sindh and Balochistan, where relief activities were extended to mid April 2011.