Millions of Pakistanis struggle to survive as flood crisis continues

February 16, 2012
Photo by Jennifer Nolan

Six months after floods devastated large swaths of Sindh and Balochistan provinces, millions of Pakistanis still urgently need humanitarian assistance. Concern Worldwide, as part of a coalition of 16 international and national agencies, warns that a lackluster response from donors is seriously threatening flood-hit communities’ chances of coping with the next monsoon season, and calls on the Pakistani government to boost its efforts to limit the impact of future disasters.

“The needs of the communities affected by the floods are still enormous, with women, children, the elderly and the disabled particularly vulnerable,” said Áine Fay, Country Director for Concern Worldwide and Chair of the Pakistan Humanitarian Forum. “The humanitarian community should continue to provide assistance so that flood-affected families not only meet their basic needs, but also have the support to rebuild their lives.”

In a report titled “Pakistan floods emergency – Lessons from a continuing disaster”, Concern and coalition partners, including Oxfam, Save the Children, Care International, Action Aid, Islamic Relief and International Rescue Committee, highlight that 2.5 million people are living without basics such as food, water, shelter, sanitation and health care, putting them at serious risk of malnutrition, disease and deepening poverty.

The United Nations Floods 2011 Rapid Response Plan, which was launched in September 2011, sought $357 million and remains less than
50 percent funded. A few donors, notably the European Union and the United States, have made large contributions.

However, the response from others has been limited, and thousands of families in flood-affected areas remain vulnerable. Already, some 43 percent of people are experiencing severe food shortages in an area where malnutrition rates were well above the emergency threshold before the flood struck.

The report, which details the challenges of the 2011 flood response and lays out full recommendations for international donors, government officials and NGOs for the next emergency, can be accessed here.