Rains over but no end in sight to suffering in flood-hit Pakistan

By Islamic Relief

Rains over but no end in sight to suffering in flood-hit Pakistan

Rains have eased for now in Pakistan, which has suffered catastrophic flooding in recent months, but there is no end in sight to the suffering of people in affected areas. For over 2 months heavy monsoon rains and unprecedented glacial melting have resulted in massive flooding that has left 1/3 of the country underwater.

Some 33 million people have been affected and 6.4 million are considered to be in dire need of humanitarian assistance. More than 1,600 have died and over 12,800 have been injured.

More than 2 million homes have been destroyed by the floodwaters, leaving millions of families displaced. Some have been forced to live out in the open, with many sheltering in dangerous locations such as on roadsides.

While the rains have stopped, for now, suffering continues, and the impact of the flooding is expected to be felt for years. Families are stranded, surrounded by waters as deep as 10 feet in some places, and at risk of starvation and catching waterborne diseases.

Livelihoods have been completely wiped out, with 4.4 million acres of crops destroyed and more than 1 million livestock killed. In rural Pakistan, many families do not have bank accounts and store savings in cash at home. Some saw this money washed away as floodwaters submerged their homes.

Nearly 128,000 pregnant women are among those affected by the flooding and in need of urgent medical care – 44,000 of these women are due to give birth in the next 3 months. The situation is truly desperate, and some people have turned to loot to feed their families.

Vital support

Islamic Relief has been on the ground delivering lifesaving aid to people affected by the flooding since August 3. The organization is working in Balochistan, Sindh, and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) provinces to distribute tents, food packs, and drinking water to those in need.

IRW has also been providing tarpaulin sheets and kitchen sets and working with the United Nations agency UNICEF to supply hygiene kits in Sindh and KP. Along with these essential survival items, Islamic Relief has also provided multipurpose cash grants to help almost 8,000 people get back on their feet. In the coming days, the organization is set to increase its support to reach over 500,000 people.

While the teams have been working tirelessly on the ground, Islamic Relief has also been meeting with government officials from Pakistan and elsewhere to discuss the crisis and ensure support for our efforts. Reaching stranded people remains difficult, with more than 13,000km of road destroyed and more still submerged, but still is distributing aid by boat and by helicopter, with the assistance of the Pakistani Navy.

Challenges ahead

The flooding in Pakistan has slipped from international news headlines, but the situation remains desperate for those affected. Many are struggling to reach aid distribution points due to the floodwaters, which are expected to take up to 6 months to recede. Damage to electricity and communications networks is also complicating aid efforts, making it impossible to assist in some areas after nightfall.

A worrying rise in dengue fever and other waterborne diseases in Sindh and KP has sparked fears of a possible major outbreak. There are no medical facilities in these areas equipped to deal with a large number of cases.

The sheer scale of the damage is difficult to comprehend. Lives were shattered in seconds and will take years of concentrated, continued support to be rebuilt.
Islamic Relief has been working in Pakistan for 30 years and Islamic Relief will continue to stand by the side of those in need as families, communities and the country recovers from this devastating disaster.