Thursday, March 23, 2023

Pakistan Floods: 6.4 million people including 3 million children need urgent assistance

Flash flooding and torrential rains have wreaked havoc across Pakistan leaving 6.4 million people, including 3 million children, in urgent need of humanitarian aid, according to the report issued by UNICEF Pakistan.

The total number of flood-affected districts is 116 out of which 72 districts are officially declared as ‘calamity hit’ by the federal government, said the report.

The most affected areas of the country include particularly Balochistan and Sindh while southern Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa are also badly hit with over 370,000 houses completely destroyed and over 730,000 partly damaged, accrding to the report.

Destruction of Health Facilities

According to the UNICEF’s Pakistan Humanitarian Situation Report, the health facilities in the flood-affected areas have also faced great damage including:

  • Destruction of 501 health facilities in Sindh (including 88 completely destroyed)
  • 244 health facilities in Balochistan destroyed
  • Vaccine cold rooms destroyed with vaccines washed out in floods

The current hard-hit flood areas are among those parts of Pakistan where the rates of chronic and acute malnutrition in children were already very high and with the ongoing flooding situation, increased diarrhea and decreased access to food, on top of pre-existing poor nutrition, are anticipated to be a critical threat to nearly 682,000 flood affectees.

Other destructive impacts of the floods as mentioned in the UNICEF report include:

  • A damaged educational system including at least 17,566 schools (15,842 schools in Sindh, 1,180 in Punjab, and 544 in Balochistan) damaged or destroyed with infrastructure assessments still ongoing.
  • Harmful effect on the resilience and psychosocial wellbeing of children and their caregivers, including 43 percent of girls, 45 percent of boys, and 55 percent of caregivers showing signs of stress, as per the UN Rapid Needs Assessment report.
  • The significant loss of crops and 733,000 livestock has left a deleterious impact on livelihoods as well as on the overall food security of the country since the economic situation in Pakistan is also worsening with rising prices of basic commodities.

Army flood relief efforts

Pakistan Army is actively participating in flood relief activities, according to the ISPR. Pakistan Army Aviation has flown 200 helicopter sorties in various flood-affected areas of Pakistan to evacuate the stranded victims and transport rations and medicines.

The rescue and relief work carried out by the military:

  • Evacuation of 1991 stranded individual
  • Delivery of 162.6 tons of relief items to flood affectees
  • Shifting of more than 50000 individuals to safer locations from calamity-hit areas
  • 147, round-the-clock functional, relief camps set up in flood-affected areas of Sindh, Southern Punjab &Balochistan, KP for flood victims
  • Treatment was provided to more than 60,000 patients along with the provision of 3-5 days’ free medicine
  • Establishment of 221 Flood Relief Items Collection Points across the country.
  • More than 1350 Tons of food/medicines and other sustenance items were collected.

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