Remembering the floods ahead of the monsoon

28 July 2011 marks the first anniversary of the 2010 floods in Pakistan - one of the world’s most devastating natural disasters in recent times. Nearly a fifth of the country was flooded, affecting over 20 million people and resulting in some 14 million people in need of humanitarian aid. Livestock was killed, crops were destroyed, and infrastructure and other livelihood assets were damaged on an unprecedented scale.

Immediately after the floods, humanitarian agencies, coordinating with the Government and local authorities, provided food for seven million people, safe drinking water for eight million, and medicines for twelve million people.

As the Government of Pakistan declared a transition from relief phase to early recovery at the end of January 2011, humanitarian communities have been actively supporting early recovery activities and help people to restart a normal life. Major activities have included rehabilitating water wells, improving the primary health care system, and rebuilding schools.

As the 2011 monsoon season approaches, up to two million people are again at risk from flooding, partly due to lack of funds for reconstruction. Major efforts are needed immediately to reduce the vulnerability of these families and implement urgent recovery and flood preparedness work on river banks, irrigation channels and other infrastructure. The humanitarian community is also preparing contingency plans to enable an effective response to any humanitarian needs that may rise. Major preparedness measures include pre-positioning of tents and establishing coordination structures with local authorities.

However, much more needs to be done, and there are other key humanitarian needs in the country. In north-western Pakistan, displaced people still need food, shelter, and income opportunities. More than US$ 600 million is still needed to support early recovery activities and achieve the objectives set out in the Pakistan Flood Relief and Early Recovery Response Plan.

Next week in Pakistan, the United Nations and partners will commemorate the anniversary in Islamabad and other areas.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs:

To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit