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Pakistan: devastating floods spread out to the whole country

09-08-2010 News Release 10/146

Geneva (ICRC) – Weather forecasts remain a cause for concern in a country where, according to national authorities, at least 1,600 people have already died and more than 10 million are affected.

  ©Reuters/Ho New    
A member of the Pakistan Red Crescent mobile medical team treats a child in the flood-affected village of Pashtun Garhi in Nowshera District, Khyber Pashtunkhwa Province.    
ICRC and Pakistan Red Crescent staff prepare the food distribution in Nowshera.    
3,500 flood victims received a one month food ration in Nowshera.    

Persistent heavy rain in Pakistan's north-west is hampering efforts to restore essential infrastructure, slowing the delivery of relief and increasing the number of homeless. At least 500,000 people made homeless by the floods across the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, are seeking shelter in public buildings and ad hoc tent camps on high ground and along roadways, trying to gain some respite from the rain.

" Together with the Pakistan Red Crescent Society, we are providing food, tents and shelter materials for flood-affected people, but the continuing heavy rain has meant that the demand for shelter continues to grow, " said Michele Ungaro, an ICRC water engineer based in Peshawar. " To help satisfy this demand, ICRC and Pakistan Red Crescent water engineers have been deployed to several areas to pump water from buildings and to restore community water supplies. "

Since all water sources are contaminated in Dera Ismail Khan, one of the cities in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa worst affected by flooding, the ICRC is using purification equipment to render the water safe for drinking. In addition, it has commenced pumping water out of schools, public buildings and homes, enabling the displaced to seek shelter in these structures. A total of 6,500 flood victims from Dera Ismail Khan have received relief items from the Pakistan Red Crescent. According to forecasts, the area faces a further five days of heavy rain.

Elsewhere in the country the Pakistan Red Crescent has continued to distribute food, bottled water, tents, shelter materials, kitchen sets and hygiene items with ICRC support to 14,000 people in Balochistan and 3,500 people in Pakistan-administered Kashmir. In Nowshera, a city in the north-west hard hit by floods, 3,500 people were given food items on 5 and 6 August. Further distributions planned for Nowshera are delayed owing to renewed flooding that has closed the Peshawar-Nowshera road. Food for 1,000 people isolated in remote Upper Dir has been provided to the authorities for delivery by helicopter, although low cloud cover and continuing heavy rain have disrupted flight operations.

In cooperation with the Pakistan Red Crescent and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, the ICRC will continue its relief operations in the many disaster-stricken areas. A thousand households are expected to receive aid in the near future.

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