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Pakistan: ICRC commits 77 million Swiss francs in addition to its yearly budget to help flood victims

02-09-2010 News Footage

According to Jacques de Maio, the ICRC's head of operations for Pakistan: "The magnitude of the humanitarian catastrophe is just staggering."


TV news footage transmitted:

  Eurovision 01.09.2010

  For access to the ICRC FTP and information on footage:

  Didier Revol, ICRC Geneva, + 41 79 217 32 82 or drevol@icrc.org

Date, location: Pakistan (north and northwest)

Length: 8'28 "

Format: 16:9

Production: Didier Revol / Jessica Barry

Editing: Laurent Graenicher

Sound: English, Urdu

Copyright: ICRC Access All 

ICRC ref: V F CR-F-01066-A

It has been one month since the floods struck Pakistan. But still there is stagnant water lying in the streets of many cities and villages. And it seems there is no likelihood of it draining away quickly, because the ground is iron-hard. People have to cope as best they can, without any knowledge as to what the future wil l hold, or how they will mend their ruined lives.

According to Jacques de Maio, the ICRC's head of operations for Pakistan: " The magnitude of the humanitarian catastrophe is just staggering. In addition, one has to acknowledge that there is a significant gap between needs and the response that can be mounted, even by all humanitarian organizations taken together. "

The budget extension of more than 77 million Swiss francs will help bring aid to 1.4 million people in desperate need. Agriculture is the principal means of support of approximately 80 per cent of flood-affected people, who have now lost all their assets. The disaster struck at a critical time, just prior to the rice, maize, vegetable and sugarcane harvests and the winter wheat planting season.

After the torrential monsoon rains come to an end, it will be a major challenge to help millions of people to regain their livelihoods and return to their homes. So far, the ICRC has provided food rations and such essential items as tents, blankets, tarpaulins, hygiene kits and soap for over 350,000 flood-affected people. It has been cooperating closely with the Pakistan Red Crescent Society, whose 100,000 volunteers are out in the field actively assisting with the relief effort.

Right now, one of the greatest concerns for the ICRC is that the longer flood victims remain displaced, the more they will be at risk of contracting water-borne diseases. Diarrhoea is already widespread because water sources in all flood-affected areas are contaminated. People are also getting scabies owing to poor hygiene and a lack of washing facilities. The ICRC is promoting preventive health measures to minimize the risk of people falling sick, trucking clean water to the displaced, identifying clean water sources, cleaning hand-dug wells and drilling boreholes. Wherever possible, Pakistan Red Crescent personnel are explaining to villagers how to stay healthy by making sure water is boiled before drinking and by using soap to wash hands.

When the floods hit north-west Pakistan at the end of July, the ICRC was able to take action immediately, as it had already been carrying out its humanitarian work in the region in connection with the armed violence. Nevertheless, the ICRC hired a fleet of 300 local trucks, and as conditions improved began loading 40-50 trucks each day with life-saving items and sending them out into the flood-affected areas.

More than 500 tonnes of emergency shelter and household items have now been airlifted to the ICRC's Peshawar logistics base from regional stocks in East Africa and the Middle East, Because flooding of major routes south from Peshawar could affect the ICRC's ability to deliver aid to the south of the country, the organization has opened a second aid pipeline through the southern port city of Karachi enabling it to continue to support Pakistan Red Crescent relief operations in Sindh, Punjab and Balochistan.


0000: flooded alley in Nowshera village

0011: Destroyed houses by River Kabul

0015: shoe floating

0021: Buffalos in still flooded Naivella village, Dera Ismail Khan district

0026: Same location, mud everywhere and destroyed neighbourhood

0034: Men searching for belongings where they used to live (2)

0047: WS of road plunging into water with kids washing (2)

0054: Sound bite with Jacques de Maio, head of ICRC operations for Pakistan (18 " - English):

" The magnitude of the humanitarian catastrophe is just staggering. Then one has to acknowledge that there is a significant gap between the actual needs and what all humanitarian response combined c an meet, in terms of needs. "

0113: ICRC logistics centre in Peshawar - Bags of flour being loaded (5)

0149: Helpers close back door of truck

0157: Trucks leaving logistics centre (2)

0213: Distribution point in Naivella village (2)

0226: ICRC and Pakistan Red Crescent staff offloading truck (2)

0236: Staff lining up aid items in courtyard before distribution starts

0243: Red Cross staff in discussion with beneficiaries

0248: Beneficiaries queuing up. Identity check (3)

0301: man leaves courtyard with aid items

0309: family with aid items in street (2)

0322: Khuda Bakhsh leaves distribution site with aid items and heads towards home(3)

0346: Sound bite Khuda Bakhsh (24 " – Urdu):

" It's been almost a month now, a whole month in which we have had nothing. I did not run after anyone though my house collapsed. It was the will of God, but I did not ask anyone for help. All right, we'll get it if we have a right to have it. If not, then it's OK. "

0411: Woman in burka with kids in street

0416: Young boy with skin infection before Paroa Hospital, Dera Ismail Khan

0420: Young girl holding kid (same location)

0425: Young girl with skin infection, Shor Kot village, Dera Ismail Khan district

0435: Old man scratching his shoulder (same location)

0444: Sound bite Habib-ur-Rehman (15 " – Urdu):

" Diseases are widespread, people were vomiting, and they have diarrhoea. Skin infection is very severe. There were few medical camps initially, but now since few days no doctor has visited us here. "

0459: Family on motorbike passing by Paroa Hospital

0507: Doctor with patients, small kid crying (2)

0519: Doctor with old lady

0527: Doctors with teenager seriously ill (3)

0557: Soundbite Jacques de Maio (28 " – English)

" There are strong chances that there might be much more people dying because of diarrhoea rather because of the floods as such. And then, how are these people going to restore their livelihood? How are the fathers going to feed their children in the weeks and months to come? Where are they going to return when the floods have stopped? And they have to return to their villages where their mud houses were simply washed away. "  

0625: Pakistan Red Crescent mobile health clinic in Nowshera village

0633: Medical team enters a private house where consultations are given

0641: Consultations (3)

0719: Pakistan Red Crescent health promoter with villagers explaining basic rules of hygiene (3)

0739: Boat carrying people, goods and a motorbike on River Kabul, Nowshera village (3)

0759: Sound bite Jacques de Maio (28 " – English):

" We managed to respond immediately for, nowadays, as we speak, for more than 350,000 people. Is that enough? Absolutely not. Is that important? We believe absolutely yes. And because it is not enough, we are today in the phase of getting more needs to be able to gear up to this massive challenge. Frustration is clearly there but we have to do something. And this is what we are trying to do right now. "

0828 ENDS

For further information, please contact
  the following ICRC media spokespersons:

  Michael O'Brien, ICRC Pakistan, tel: + 92 300 850 8138
  Jessica Barry, ICRC Pakistan, tel: + 92 302 820 97 85
  Sitara Jabeen, ICRC Pakistan, tel: + 92 300 850 56 93
  Christian Cardon, ICRC Geneva, tel: + 41 22 730 24 26 or + 41 79 251 93 02


  • Copyright: ICRC
  • Running time: To be completed