The UN on 18 July launched a flash appeal for US$38 million to assist hundreds of thousands of victims of cyclone Yemyin, which ravaged Pakistan’s Balochistan and Sindh provinces in late June.
“The humanitarian community and the government of Pakistan are making every effort to bring relief to the affected population scattered over a vast, remote and inhospitable terrain to meet their immediate needs,” Jan Vandemoortele, the UN resident coordinator in Islamabad told IRIN in the Pakistani capital, Islamabad.
“Hundreds of thousands of people now risk getting seriously ill if we do not continue to provide safe water, food and essential medicines. The scale of the floods calls for international support and we must act now,” Vandemoortele said.
An estimated 2.5 million people were affected by flooding following four days of torrential rain after the cyclone struck southern Pakistan on 23 June, leaving 280 people dead, 186 missing and some 377,000 displaced – many of whom are now living in schools, improvised roadside shelters, or with family and friends, in extreme weather conditions and deprivation.
Aid workers on the ground say there is an urgent need for tents and emergency shelter materials that can be used for the reconstruction of homes.
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|Over 30,000 displaced by Sindh, Balochistan floods|
The appeal launched in Geneva covers humanitarian needs in the affected areas for the next three months and proposes 83 projects in 12 clusters, submitted by national and international non-governmental organizations (NGOs), the International Organization for Migration, and UN agencies.
Louise Paterson, country director for the American Refugee Committee, which has been actively engaged in Balochistan for the past six years, cited shelter, water and sanitation as the main priorities.
“I don’t think we’re moving fast enough. Although coordination has been good, implementation has been slowed due to the fact that the NGOs on the ground don’t have the resources they need,” Paterson said, stressing the need for a strong donor response.
Further assessments needed
Though communication links to the affected areas have been re-established, there is a strong need for further assessments to be conducted to determine the scale of the disaster.
“At this point, we are looking to do some more detailed assessments to identify any gaps there might be in assistance,” said Ted Pearn, team leader of the UN Disaster Assessment and Coordination team which was deployed to Pakistan on 3 July to support the UN resident coordinator. He described the situation in both provinces as “fluid”.
|Hundreds of thousands of people now risk getting seriously ill if we do not continue to provide safe water, food and essential medicines. The scale of the floods calls for international support and we must act now.|
“In some areas the water has receded, allowing some people to return to their homes if they were still standing, while in other areas the area remains flooded,” Pearn said. “In many cases, the houses have been completely washed away,” he added.
According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs on 17 July, needs in the shelter sector were particularly acute in 28 flood-affected districts of Balochistan and Sindh, with food, potable water and essential medicines remaining priority needs.
Additionally, an increase of diarrhoea, skin and eye diseases was being reported due to poor hygiene and sanitation conditions in spontaneous settlements and camps, especially in Turbat District (Balochistan), with Pakistan’s National Disaster Management Authority, calling for urgent measures to be taken in order to avoid an outbreak of epidemics.
The flash appeal aims to bolster the efforts of the Pakistani government to address the key humanitarian needs of the affected population over the next three months, with priority on shelter, water and sanitation, health and early recovery activities.
This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions
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