IRC Team Responds to Devastating Floods in Pakistan
The International Rescue Committee is preparing to bring badly-needed help to victims of the devastating monsoon floods that have killed an estimated 400 people and are believed to have displaced nearly half a million in Pakistan.
The IRC’s Pakistan Country Director Tammy Hasselfeldt said that while the monsoons have severely impacted people across the country, the province of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa – formerly known as North-West Frontier Province – has been especially devastated by the rains.
IRC teams on the ground are moving around in four-wheel-drive trucks on what is left of the main roads and by foot to access villages, trying to take stock of the situation.
“They report that the area is in terrible shape with collapsed buildings and dams,” Hasselfeldt said. “Mud-brick homes, some with their occupants still clinging to the roof, have been washed away by the torrents.”
Roads and bridges to Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa’s capital Peshawar are knocked out. Jalozai, the largest camp for Pakistanis displaced by the conflict between the government and Taliban militants, has been inaccessible to vehicles since last Tuesday. Several rivers have burst their banks, washing away entire villages. In Pakistan’s northwestern Swat district, the Swat river broke its banks and the IRC has only been able to access villages near the district capital, Mingora. The northern areas of Swat, where pockets of conflict still exist, are completely cut off and only accessible by helicopter.
“Our response will focus on making clean water accessible and providing shelter to people who have lost their homes.” Hasselfeldt said. “This is the second week of the monsoon season and it is likely that we will see similarly devastating rains several more times over the course of the next four weeks. With this in mind, we are planning our response to be as mobile and responsive as possible.”
Pakistani officials say the floods are the worst the region has experienced in more than 80 years. So far, an estimated 400,000 people are reported to be displaced, according to the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
The IRC has worked in Pakistan for three decades and is supporting Afghan refugees and tens of thousands of Pakistanis uprooted by fighting between the government and militants in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province and in the adjoining tribal areas. Find out more here.
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