Pakistan

Pakistan: Rains and Snowfall OCHA Situation Report No. 5

Attachments

Ref: OCHA/GVA - 2005/0046
OCHA Situation Report No. 5
Pakistan - Rains / Snowfall
24 February 2005

This situation report is based on information received from the office of the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Pakistan.

Situation

1. After three weeks of heavy rains and floods in different parts of Pakistan, the situation in the southern and western parts of Balochistan has started to improve, while relief operations have been stepped up with better access to the affected areas. Rains and snowfall continue in NWFP, Northern Areas of Pakistan, AJK and upper parts of Punjab, where a number of villages remain cut off due to heavy snow and landslides.

2. The death toll stands at 486 persons. In NWFP and the Federally Administrated Tribal Areas (FATA), some 2.8 million persons are affected in the six worst affected districts: Swat, Kohistan, Abbottabad, Mansehra, Shangla and Battagram. Some 140,000 persons are completely isolated in Kohistan, upper Swat, Shangla, major parts of Battagram, Kaghan area in Mansehra and Thandiani in Abbottabad, as roads are blocked due to heavy snow and landslides, which could take 1 to 3 weeks to clear.

3. In Balochistan province, the coastal district of Gwader is the worst affected, where heavy rains have led to flooding and dam bursts. In Pasni town, 50,000 persons are affected, while an additional 20,000 are affected in other areas of Gwader and Lasbela districts. The infrastructure in the affected areas, such as water supply and sanitation systems, electricity and road and communications networks has been seriously damaged. In some areas almost 80% of the crops and agricultural land has been lost. Experts from WHO and UNICEF have expressed a fear of outbreak of water-borne diseases and acute respiratory infections amongst the affected population. There is also a risk of malaria in the coastal districts.

4. Latest reports indicate that 65 persons were killed in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) region. Neelum and Leepa Valleys in Muzaffarabad district and Forward Kahuta, Dhirkot and central Bagh in Bagh District have been more severely affected. Road as well as aerial access is not yet possible. Landslides and avalanches have been occurring frequently in various parts of AJK.

National Response

5. According to local authorities in NWFP and FATA, the most urgent needs are as follows: road clearing equipment, food items, shelter and essential medical supplies.

6. In Balochistan, the local government has started to provide water to the affected population. It should be noted that the UN, NGOs and the Government have responded quickly to the situation. Logistical support has been provided by the Pakistan Military Forces throughout Balochistan. The Military Forces also airlifted stranded persons to safe areas, as well as distributing food and other relief aid to the affected population. The Pakistan Army recently completed an operation rescuing 3000 persons marooned in Pishin and Killa Abdullah districts in northern Balochistan.

7. Currently, the Government of AJK, NGOs and the Pakistan Red Crescent Society have adequate supplies to meet the immediate known needs of the affected population. Access is still a problem in the region and local authorities hope to field further assessment missions.

International Response

8. The Government of Pakistan has not requested international assistance at this stage. However, the Federal Government has shown inclination to welcome help from bilateral and multilateral partners including the United Nations. The UN Rapid Assessment Missions to Balochistan, NWFP and the FATA have been completed and the findings were presented to the UN Disaster Management Team (UNDMT) meeting on 23 February. UN Agencies have been working in close collaboration with the national authorities and NGOs in distributing relief aid to the affected population.

9. A Crop and Livestock damage assessment mission is being launched by FAO to Balochistan, NWFP and, weather permitting, AJK, to investigate the impact on food security needs as well as agricultural and livestock rehabilitation requirements.

10. On the basis of available information, the UN Agencies and NGOs agreed that the Government's existing resources could address the scale of the emergency in AJK. However, they will continue to monitor the situation closely and will mobilize a Joint Rapid Needs Assessment Mission as soon as access permits.

11. The details of the national and international response are attached in a separate excel sheet. .

12. OCHA is in close contact with the Office of the UN Resident Coordinator in Pakistan and will revert with further information as required.

13. This situation report, together with further information on ongoing emergencies, is also available on the OCHA Internet Website at http://www.reliefweb.int

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In case of emergency only: Tel. +41-22-917 20 10

Desk Officers:
Ms. Afia Ali Blasco
Direct Tel. +41-22-917-1179

Press contact:
(GVA): Ms. Elizabeth Byrs, direct Tel. + 41-22-917 2653
(N.Y.): Ms. Stephanie Bunker, direct Tel. +1-917-8921679

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