Caritas is appealing for US$5.5 million (4.3 million euro) to help Pakistan’s flood victims as the situation grows increasingly desperate.
Over 1,600 people have died in the disaster and up to 14 million people are affected. Raging floodwaters have washed away homes, bridges, schools, water systems and medical facilities in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) and Balochistan as well as parts of Punjab and Azad Jammu and Kashmir.
“The priority is to ensure people have food, water, shelter and medical help. There are so many people who are in grave difficulty. It’s such a traumatic situation for those who have lost everything and who have to rely on others even for a drink of water,” says Anila Gill, national executive secretary of Caritas Pakistan
The three-month project will help 250,000 people in KPK, Punjab and Sindh. Caritas will distribute food as many people’s food stores, crops and livestock have been washed away. There will also be a focus on providing people with water, shelter and hygiene facilities.
Caritas will work with communities to identify infrastructure, such as roads, bridges and irrigation channels, that needs to be rebuilt. By doing this it will reconnect people to markets and other services.
Part of the Caritas commitment to protecting people’s health will include medical camps which will provide emergency medical treatment, immunisation and vaccination services to approximately 8,000 people for the prevention of epidemic water borne diseases.
Another area of concern for Caritas is the vulnerability of women and children in the floods. Caritas will undertake awareness raising about rights, as well as counselling for women. Children will be provided with toys and a safe place to play. They will also benefit from counselling and medical services which will leave them less open to abuse.
As the monsoon season and heavy rains continue, new areas of Pakistan continue to be flooded. It is an ongoing challenge to Caritas and other agencies to identify these new areas and meet the needs of the people in them.
The floods are said to be the worst in eighty years in Pakistan. The sheer number of people affected means that the difficulties will persist long after the waters have dried up.