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Pakistan: providing relief to Balochistan's flood victims

03-09-2010 News Release 10/166

Geneva/Quetta (ICRC) – A string of natural disasters that caused widespread suffering and devastation in Balochistan in 2010 seems largely to have gone unnoticed outside this arid south-western province.

Sohbat Pur, Balochistan. A Pakistan Red Crescent medical team helps displaced people.    
Sultan Kot, Balochistan. Flood victims receive food and hygiene items supplied by the ICRC.    

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), acting through the Pakistan Red Crescent Society, responded quickly to the first bout of monsoon flooding in July by distributing food for 21,000 people in the flood-affected Sibi district towns of Talli and Sultan Kot. More relief assistance is set to be distributed in the coming days in this severely affected region.

" In the third week of August, food and other items for 70,000 flood victims in Balochistan were purchased, packaged and shipped by the ICRC to Pakistan Red Crescent branches for distribution to Balochistan flood victims in the worst flood-affected areas of Jaffarabad, Nasirabad and Sibi districts, " said Pascal Cuttat, head of the ICRC delegation in Islamabad. " Relief supplies were also provided to people displaced from Balochistan to camps in Sindh and southern Punjab. "

" As conditions worsened in Balochistan, we were concerned that flooding would prevent us from getting a second shipment of relief supplies to the province and other southern areas by road from the ICRC logistics hub in Peshawar, so we opened a new aid pipeline in the port city of Karachi, " added Mr Cuttat.

Floods in the Bolan district in March were followed in quick succession by destructive winds and coastal flooding from cyclone Phet in early June. Before the current catastrophic floods focused the world spotlight on Pakistan in early August, the population in Balochistan was already feeling the effects of flooding rains in the third week of July. Balochistan remains one of the poorest and hardest hit areas in the country and, despite the strength and resilience of its people, one least able to recover from the current disastrous floods.

Despite restrictions on the movement of expatriate staff within Balochistan, the ICRC remains committed to bringing aid to people in need. " The ICRC, in cooperation with the Pakistan Red Crescent, will continue to assist flood victims in Balochistan, and we stand ready to help flood victims restore their livelihoods once floodwaters subside, " said Adrian Zimmerman, head of the ICRC sub-delegation in Quetta.

The ICRC carried out humanitarian work in Balochistan in response to the 2007 floods and the 2008 earthquake. In 2010, it has delivered relief supplies to the Pakistan Red Crescent as a series of natural disasters have struck the province.

  For further information, please contact:
  Michael O'Brien, ICRC Pakistan, tel: +92 300 850 8138
  Adrian Zimmerman, ICRC Quetta, tel: +92 300 856 8667
  Christian Cardon, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 22 730 24 26 or +41 79 251 93 02