Pakistan

Pakistan: Rains and Snowfall OCHA Situation Report No. 6

Attachments

Ref: OCHA/GVA - 2005/0050
OCHA Situation Report No. 6
Pakistan - Rains / Snowfall
4 March 2005

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

Situation

1. Heavy rains and flash floods continue to aggravate the situation in Balochistan province, affecting the coastal zone as well as the central and northern districts. The worst hit districts include Gwadar, Turbat, Chaman, Killa Abdullah, Pishin, Sibi and Jaffarabad. There has been extensive damage to the road network, with the Coastal Highway once again closed and a number of main roads rendered temporarily inoperable. Gwadar Airport has closed, leaving the region cut-off from the rest of the country.

2. In order to save the Akra Kaur Dam from breaching, the spillways had to be opened, causing flooding downstream, however, the downstream villages were evacuated timely. Some 15 deaths were reported in Killa Abdullah, Quetta, Pishin and Awaran districts. With the addition of the new casualties, the death toll has reached to 520 in the aftermath of heavy rains, floods, snowfall and avalanches affecting northern and western Pakistan since January.

3. Infrastructure has been seriously affected, with heavy damage to the water supply and sanitation systems, electricity and road and communication networks. Major damage has been suffered by the agricultural infrastructure with destruction of more than 40,000 acres of standing crops. In some areas almost 80% of the crops have been lost on almost the same percentage of agricultural land. Experts from WHO and UNICEF have expressed a fear of outbreak of water borne diseases and acute respiratory infections. There is also risk of malaria in the coastal districts.

4. All 24 districts in NWFP and 7 Agencies in Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) have suffered heavy rains, unprecedented snowfall ranging from 10-26 feet, landslides and avalanches in varying degrees during the previous three weeks. There are eight worst affected districts: Swat, Upper and Lower Dir, Kohistan, Abbottabad, Mansehra, Shangla and Battagram, totaling a population of nearly 7 million. Of this 7 million affected population, almost 3 million are severely affected and 300,000 persons are completely isolated and stranded in snowbound villages in Kohistan, upper Swat, Upper and Lower Dir, Shangla, Battagram, Kaghan area in Mansehra and Thandiani in Abbottabad.

5. While the human losses amount to 363 deaths and 450 injuries in NWFP, 253 deaths and 123 injuries have taken place in the 8 worst affected districts alone. Chitral has suffered 18 casualties with 24 persons injured and an affected population of 41,000.

6. In Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) 65 deaths have been reported. Neelum and Leepa Valleys in Muzaffarabad district and Forward Kahuta, Dhirkot and central Bagh in Bagh District of AJK have been more severely affected, while 25000 persons are affected in Neelum Valley. Road as well as aerial access to Neelum and Leepa Valleys is not possible yet. Land slides and avalanches have been occurring frequently in various parts of AJK.

National Response

7. The Government of Pakistan has not requested international assistance at this stage. However, the Federal Government has welcomed help from bilateral / multilateral partners, including the United Nations.

8. According to local authorities, the most urgent requirements are as follows: road clearing equipment, food items, shelter and essential medical supplies. Rehabilitation of livelihoods and physical, social and agricultural infrastructure have been identified as priority interventions in the coastal region of Balochistan. Emergency support is also recommended for control of possible outbreak of waterborne diseases.

9. The Pakistan Military Forces have been providing logistical support for the distribution of relief items, as well as evacuating populations from affected areas. Distribution of relief aid is proceeding in the affected areas where access is not problematic.

10. A complete list detailing the national response is attached as Annexes A and B to this situation report.

International Response

11. The Joint Rapid Assessment missions to NWFP and AJK have been completed. The Food and Agricultural Organisation is conducting Crop and Livestock Damage Assessment Missions to NWFP, Balochistan and AJK.

12. The International Rescue Committee (IRC) has redeployed resources to help the affected population living in the vicinity of refugee camps in Upper and Lower Dir districts. There is limited access to Upper Dir, with roads cut off due to heavy snow, which could take up to 3 weeks to clear.

13. A complete list detailing the national response is attached as Annex C to this situation report.

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

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

Telephone: +41-22-917 12 34
Fax: +41-22-917 00 23
E-mail: ochagva@un.org

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

Disclaimer

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