Pakistan floods: Situation Report No. 2

Situation Report
Originally published
1. The start of the monsoon rains in the country has further aggravated the situation of floods. In addition to high flood in Kabul, Swat and Chitral Rivers, the Indus River is also in medium flood downstream Tarbela Dam due to release of water from the lake which is being emptied to accommodate the increased inflow from the snowmelt and glaciers. Heavy rains in Peshawar and region on Saturday also contributed significantly to the already high water levels in the Kabul River. Major rivers in NWFP and the Northern Areas of Pakistan have been in high flood since last week due to heavy snowfall during winter and unprecedented high temperatures prevailing in the region for the last two weeks.

2. In NWFP, the worst affected districts are Peshawar, Charsadda, Nowshera where vast areas along Kabul River and its tributaries have been inundated. Two persons have been killed in floodwaters in Nowshera. The floods have affected almost 86 villages in more than 25 Union Councils resulting in the displacement of more than 15,700 persons. The exact number of houses damaged or destroyed has not yet been confirmed but unofficial sources put the figure between 2,500 and 3,000 houses. Almost 5,500 of acres of standing crops including maize, fodder, vegetables and sugarcane are completely destroyed. A large number of fruit trees have been uprooted and washed away increasing vulnerability of small landholders and livestock owners. The floods have also damaged water infrastructure and drinking water sources in the most affected areas. According to reports, an 800 meter stretch of road has been inundated by the Kabul River between Takhtabad and Wazirabad in Peshawar District.

3. Pakistan Army is assisting the Civil Authorities in evacuating the marooned people. Majority of the people rendered homeless have taken refuge with their relatives in the nearby villages.

4. The floods have also affected five afghan refugee camps in the three districts affecting almost 1,170 families out of which 250 have been rendered homeless and are living under the open sky.

5. The Swat River is also in high flood and has flooded some valleys in Swat damaging crops and houses forcing people in the affected region to move to safer areas. The road between Matta and Khwaza Khela has also been inundated by the river.

6. Water level in the Chitral River is reported to be the highest since 1978 and has caused damage to the road network and villages in the close vicinity. Flooding has been reported in the Garam Chashma area. Burdwa Bridge linking Chitral to Gilgit as well as the bridge between Chitral and Gulmit has been washed away cutting off access to the area. Damages have also been reported from the Kalash Valley.

7. According to a statement issued by the Senior Minister NWFP, a total of 400,000 acres of land in Peshawar, Nowshera, Charsadda, Swat and Chitral Districts have been inundated causing serious damage and destruction to the standing crops and houses. Detailed investigations are still in process and exact figures would only be available after the water has started receding.

8. Damages to land and property have also been reported from the Northern Areas where low lying areas in Ghizer, Ghanche and Gilgit have been affected. A total of 322 houses have been washed out in Ghanche District while 650 have been partially damaged. About 10,000 canals of cultivated land has been eroded and 50,000 fruit and forest trees uprooted. 5,000 persons are reported to be in need of emergency assistance and help. Traffic between Ghizer and Gilgit has been suspended due to damage to a bridge. Many suspension bridges have been damaged/washed away in different areas. Gilgit-Shandoor road has also been reported cut off for the last one week. According to an assessment of the situation undertaken by Aga Khan Rural Support Programme, relief priorities include food, tents, clothes, medicines and pipes for drinking water.

9. The outflow from Tarbela Dam combined with the floodwaters from Kabul and Swat Rivers has caused damage to many villages in Dera Ismail Khan, Layyah and Mianwali. Nearly 40 villages have been affected in these districts. In Layyah alone, 25 villages are reported to be inundated. Army is evacuating marooned people and Civil Administration has established two relief camps in DI Khan and one Layyah.

National Response

10. The Provincial Government of NWFP has allocated a sum of Rs. 110 Million for provision of relief support to the affectees in the affected districts. Out of this sum Rs. 5 million has been released for relief activities in Peshawar, Rs. 3 million in Charsadda, Rs. 2 million in Nowshera, Rs. One million each for DI Khan and Chitral and Rs. 0.5 million for Swat. The Provincial Government has also distributed 4,972 food packs and 1,050 tents to the affectees in the affected districts of Peshawar, Nowshera and Charsadda. The Government has also established 17 medical centres to provide medical care to the flood affectees.

11. The Prime Minister of Pakistan visited the affected areas and announced a grant of Rs. 100 million in support of the affected areas of the province. The Federal Government has provided 550 food packets (32.1 kgs each), 100 tents, 200 blankets and seven cartons of medicines to authorities in Nowshera; 950 food packets to Charsadda; 200 food packets to Peshawar; and 500 food packets for distribution in Swat. Additionally, a consignment of 300 Food Packets, 200 tents 500 blankets and 6 cartons of medicines has been dispatched to the Northern Areas for distribution among the affectees.

12. The Provincial Governments of Punjab and Sindh have announced grants of Rs. 50 million each for relief activities to the flood affectees in NWFP.

13. The Pakistan Red Crescent Society (PRCS) has allocated a sum of Rs. 4 million for the affected areas of NWFP and Rs. 1 Million for the affectees in the Northern Areas of Pakistan. A consignment of 100 tents, 400 blankets, 100 sheets, 100 water containers, 10,000 water purification tablets, 10 bales of clothes and 600 food packs was sent on 1 July to NWFP for distribution in the affected districts. NWFP Branch of PRCS has also provided 450 food packs to the affectees in the province.

14. The Islamabad Administration has dispatched two truckloads of wheat flour, sugar, tea, pulses, rice, spices, vegetable ghee and other edible items for distribution among the flood affectees in Nowshera District. Nine trucks carrying 2,400 sacks of flour and 2,400 tins of ghee have been donated by different philanthropists and distributed by the Army among the affectees in Nowshera and Charsadda districts.

International Response

15. The UN Inter-Agency Coordination Committee for NWFP with membership from WHO, UNICEF, UNFPA, WFP, UNHCR and NGOs working in the area has undertaken a Rapid Needs Assessment of the situation in the affected areas. The Committee is also in contact with the provincial and local authorities concerned to obtain up-to-date information on the situation.

16. The UN Disaster Management Team met on 29 June, 2005 to discuss the flood situation in NWFP and the Northern Areas. Sub-Groups have been formed to assess the specific needs and address issues of immediate concern in Food, Water and Sanitation, Health, Shelter and Livestock & Agriculture. The sub-groups would submit their reports and present findings in the next UNDMT Meeting scheduled on 7 July, 2005. WHO has been requested to send health kits in its stock to the three most affected districts.

17. UNICEF has dispatched a relief package comprising 3,000 kgs of blended food, 1,667 tarpaulin sheets, 30,000 Aqua Tabs, 1,000 Jerry Cans (10 Litres), 2,000 plastic buckets and 6,000 bars of soap. The total value of this consignment is US$ 22,575.

18. OXFAM-GB has rushed 10,000 empty sandbags to the affected areas of NWFP for protection works. Likewise, UNDP has also rushed 10,000 empty sandbags to the affected areas of NWFP for protection works.

19. The US Agency for International Development (USAID) has provided a grant of US$ 50,000 to the International Rescue Committee for provision of food for 2,000 families in the affected areas as well as 60,000 sand bags to help local authorities cope with the situation.

20. Catholic Relief Service has dispatched Food Packs, soaps and water containers for 1,000 families and Plastic Sheets for 250 families for distribution in Peshawar, Nowshera and Mardan.

21. The Provincial Government of NWFP has issued an appeal to the donors and UN for help in provision of relief and rehabilitation support to the flood affectees. However, there is no appeal from the Federal Government for international assistance but the help from bilateral and multilateral partners including UN is welcomed.