Six months after catastrophic monsoon floods swept through Pakistan from north to south, the crisis remains far from over and communities are still in need of support.
Some 21 million people, including 9 million children were affected by the unseasonal floods; 1.7 million homes were damaged or destroyed and 5.4 million acres of arable land rendered useless.
At their peak, the floods submerged one-fifth of Pakistan, an area the size of Victoria, and destroyed everything in their path.
World Vision supporters from more than 10 countries generously donated US$24 million, of which Australians contributed more than $5.3 million.
This support helped World Vision assist more than 900,000 people in 11 districts of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK), Punjab and Sindh provinces.
Despite the humanitarian community’s successes in reaching large numbers of people, the flood crisis continues to evolve as attention for the emergency and recognition of dire needs, especially among children, fades. And as the waters recede and winter sets in, new issues trouble the flood-affected survivors.
The problem of child malnutrition has been exacerbated by the floods, endangering hundreds of thousands of children.
“I will always remember visiting groups of displaced people in central Punjab; seeing people grieving, shocked families who had lost the little they had. I sat with women, listening to mothers voice their concerns about the health of their little ones. To see tiny children, clearly malnourished and covered in skin infections, their little bodies wracked with fevers, suffering with diarrhoea is such a heart-wrenching situation.
“These children are highly vulnerable and the need for support is still great for the people of Pakistan,” said Conny Lenneberg, World Vision Australia Deputy CEO.
According to recent nutrition surveys conducted by UNICEF, the province of Sindh has an alarmingly high rate of global acute malnutrition (23.1%) among children under the age of five in the north, and a rate of 21.2% in the south. The emergency threshold for global acute malnutrition is 15%.
The state of agriculture in the country has been hit hard with more than 2.2 million hectares of standing crops lost. As Pakistan lost crops from the previous farming season, it means that unless urgent action is taken now to rehabilitate the fields and provide farmers with seeds and tools, the upcoming April farming season and crops will also be lost.
“We still have a daunting task ahead to save lives and protect the health, nutrition, education, and safety of children and women, but require continued funding to do so,” said Bernard Borkhoche, World Vision’s Humanitarian Emergency Assistance Response Manager in Pakistan.
As the humanitarian response transitions from emergency to recovery and rehabilitation, millions still remain without food and shelter and are still looking at an uncertain future in relief camps, while millions of others struggle to start afresh, waiting for assistance on the long road to recovery.
For more information on the achievements of the past 6 months