from UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Published on 20 Sep 2010
(Islamabad/New York/Geneva: 20 September 2010): Seven weeks from the onset of one of the worst natural disasters in recent history, hundreds of thousands of people are still being displaced by the floods in southern Pakistan's Sindh province.

"The flood waters are rising, and every day we are seeing 20,000 to 30,000 people newly displaced. The waters around Lake Manchar are overflowing in five directions, where flood victims who fled other locations are now living", said Andy Pendleton, of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Sindh's southern city of Hyderabad.

"People are referring to this latest flooding as a 'lake burst'. First we had the rain, then the waters from the river, and now the lake", said Fawad Hussain, OCHA's coordinator for Sindh based in the northern town of Sukkur. "We have not been able to scale up as quickly in the far south due to lack of funding. Now with the revised response plan launched, we hope to increase our resources", Mr. Hussain added.

"The emergency situation is far from over in the south. People are stranded and need to be airlifted out", explained Aphaluck Bhapiasevi of the World Health Organization (WHO) in the southern city of Hyderabad. WHO is sending medical, cholera and emergency health kits to areas where the newly displaced have moved.

"Diarrhoeal diseases and malnutrition are a huge concern. Children are at greatest risk", said Dr. Muireann Brennen of WHO based in southern Sindh, "We have mobile medical teams in the area, who are working hard to reach those in need".

The camps and makeshift settlements are overcrowded and space and services are inadequate for accommodating the large scale of displaced people. "Far more shelter materials are required to meet the rapidly increasing needs in the south", said Emmanuel Gignac, Emergency Coordinator for the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNCHR) in Sindh.

"The monsoon rains may be over, but the floods are not", said Andro Shilakadze, head of the local office of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF). "And once the floods are over, we must stress that the most dangerous phase of this emergency is yet to come. We must all work together in a concerted manner to avert a health crisis, prevent further malnutrition, and combat the effects of food shortages", he concluded.

Out of an estimated 20 million people affected by floods spanning one-fifth of the country, more than 7.3 million are in Sindh, where almost 1.1 million homes are estimated to have been destroyed and close to 1.5 million people are living in relief camps. Through the work of the United Nations and its partners in the province, 1.3 million people have so far received food, while emergency shelter has reached 500,000 people. Clean drinking water is now available to nearly 500,000 people, and more than one million have received medical attention.

For further information, please call: OCHA Islamabad: Maurizio Giuliano, +92 300 8502397,; Stacey Winston, +92 300 8502690,, OCHA New York: Stephanie Bunker, +1 917 367 5126, mobile +1 347 244 2106 Nicholas Reader, +1 212 963 4961, mobile +1 646 752 3117,, OCHA Geneva: Elisabeth Byrs, +41 22 917 2653, mobile +41 79 473 4570,

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