Pakistan floods: targetting the most vulnerable with essential supplies

Evacuation, Noshwera, Pakistan

ActionAid is planning to respond to the worst floods in Pakistan in 80 years with emergency food supplies, clean water, sanitation and providing shelter.

The first phase of the emergency response will be targeted at the most vulnerable - women, children, people with disabilities, the elderly and religious minorities - in the flood-affected northwestern Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa province formerly known as North West Frontier province.

At least 1,100 people have died in the Monsoon floods and almost a million have been affected with many having to shelter on rooftops, trees and electricity poles. The flood waters have washed away thousands of acres of crops, government buildings, businesses, schools, bridges, railway tracks and homes.

Waheed Shah, Emergencies Specialist for ActionAid Pakistan has just returned from the Swat Valley region.

He said: “Floodwaters have overwhelmed Mingora city, the capital of Swat and washed away more than 45 bridges in the region. Now only helicopters can reach the people with vital food supplies but there is nowhere for them to land so food is being thrown onto any dry ground they can find. Families who have lost everything are now basically trapped and there are no proper means to distribute food to the those who need it most.

“30,000 local military and police are working with agencies like ActionAid on the ground in all affected areas to try and reach the flood victims but the situation is very challenging.”

More rains are expected, so aid agencies fear even more damage in the coming days as major rivers reach dangerously high levels. ActionAid will be rolling out its emergency response in the coming days focussing on the most vulnerable. The agency will be working with partner organisations who know the area well and are based in and near the affected communities.

photo : ©Reuters/Arees Latif courtesy of www.alertnet.org