Pakistan’s Humanitarian Crisis
While recent developments in Pakistan are featured prominently in the press and social media, one story that has not received wide coverage is the plight of more than five million people affected by the 2011 floods in Sindh and Balochistan. According to the latest Pakistan situation report of the United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), funding constraints are threatening the ability of the humanitarian community to provide assistance to the flood-affected population, including shelter, food, safe drinking water, and health services. The UN situation report also highlights the huge gap between the assessed needs and the humanitarian response in flood-affected areas.
The UN humanitarian appeal has only reached one-third of the $357 million in emergency funding needed to help. Nowithstanding the lack of funds, the UN and NGOs in Pakistan continue to assist flood survivors with immediate needs in the flood-affected regions where temperatures are dropping. The Pakistani Government and humanitarian organizations have distributed shelter and relief items to about 450,000 households in Sindh and Balochistan, but the shelter needs remain huge. The OCHA report identifies other priority needs in all the affected flood-affected locations, such as food assistance, treatment of acute respiratory illnesses, and access to safe drinking water and sanitation facilities. For more information about the current needs in Pakistan, please see UN OCHA’s December 9 situation report here.
One can speculate on the many reasons why this year’s devastating floods in Pakistan have received little attention compared to previous similar disasters in recent years. However, the reality is that many humanitarian organizations continue to appeal to the donor community for additional funding for programs targeting the ongoing needs of the most vulnerable flood-affected people in Pakistan. If your company is interested in getting involved in the Pakistan flood relief effort, please contact Gerald McSwiggan at the Chamber’s Business Civic Leadership Center Disaster Response and Recovery Program, who will be glad to help facilitate partnerships with international organizations responding to this humanitarian crisis.