Torrential monsoon rains have triggered severe flooding in Pakistan, primarily in Sindh Province.
Before the monsoon season began, forecasts predicted 10% below normal rains for Sindh and the southern parts of the country for the 2011 monsoon season. However, by 10 August, heavy rains began affecting districts of southern Sindh and extended to the northern regions of the province and adjoining areas of south Punjab and north-eastern Balochistan. While this spell lasted till mid-August, another more debilitating and sustained rain spell heavily affected areas across the entire Sindh Province from the end of August until 14 September. Concurrent impact in adjoining vast areas of Balochistan has resulted in serious humanitarian consequences including in South Punjab. In Sindh, the central and southern districts have been the worst affected.
These rains caused widespread breaches in the agricultural and saline water canals, particularly in the Left Bank Outfall Drain, which exacerbated flood impact in Badin, Mirpurkhas and Tharparkar districts, among others. Continued rains have seriously impeded delivery of emergency services and flood impacted mitigation works. Outflow of the draining flood water is compromised due to poor infrastructure and lack of maintenance of the drainage routes. Some parts of Karachi and Hyderabad have also experienced urban flooding. Flood waters are likely to stagnate in most of the affected regions for the foreseeable future.
As the monsoon season continues, the impact upon the population is intensifying with 5.4 million people affected to date. In Sindh, in particular, the concentration is most severe and all 23 districts have been affected to some degree. It is expected that the population will continue to be uprooted from their homes to seek refuge in the short term as more areas are affected. While some are housed in Government appointed shelters, more seek higher ground along bunds and roads. In Balochistan, five districts are affected and notified (considered seriously affected by the national authorities).The Government of Pakistan, through the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) and utilising the Armed Forces’ logistical capacity, has taken the lead in responding to the disaster with the deployment of rescue and life-saving relief operations.
Responses are being adapted to the emerging situation as rains across Sindh and the southern part of the country are exceptional in their quantum and spatial impact. Vast tracts which include traditional camp sites are flooded. Utilizing the preparations made through the contingency planning process, shelter locations were identified, search and rescue capacities reinforced and mass communication schemes devised. These contingency plans were activated to alert population of potential flooding and to enable some to move to shelters in advance of the floods.
While the authorities are continuing to mobilize relief items for the affected population, access issues due to damaged infrastructure and continuing heavy rain are hampering the delivery of aid. Over the medium to long-term relief, the food security situation in the country is likely to be affected by the significant loss of crops, agricultural land, and livestock.
While the Government (NDMA and the Provincial Disaster Management Authorities) will lead the relief and recovery activities in flood-affected areas, the humanitarian community has been asked to support the response by covering gaps where the needs exceed the government’s response capacity. In response to the Government’s request for assistance on 6 September 2011, the Humanitarian Country Team has developed this Rapid Response Plan as a strategic plan to address the needs of the population in support to the Government’s relief interventions. This plan will follow two phases:
The first phase focuses on critical needs of the severely affected families in the areas of food security, safe drinking water and purification materials, sanitation and hygiene, emergency health services, tents and shelter kits, cooking sets, mosquito nets, and other non-food items along with critical early recovery, community restoration and capacity building needs.
The second phase will provide a revised plan based on data collected from needs assessments.
This Rapid Response Plan seeks US$356.7 million to enable United Nations agencies, nongovernmental organizations and the International Organization for Migration to support the Government of Pakistan in addressing the needs of flood-affected families for six months. The plan will be revised within 30 days to more accurately reflect humanitarian needs as the situation evolves and additional assessments are completed which include early recovery strategies for helping people recover and rebuild their lives.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
- To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.