International aid agency Oxfam is mounting an emergency response to get aid to those affected by fresh flooding in Sindh province in Pakistan. This is the second year of flooding in Pakistan, and many of those affected had not fully recovered from the devastating floods last year.
“There is an urgent need to provide immediate and life-saving relief to the millions affected. It hasn’t stopped raining in Sindh for the last 10 days. Large swathes of land are underwater and people are desperately awaiting relief,” said Neva Khan, the Country Director of Oxfam in Pakistan, who visited some of the worst affected areas in lower Sindh. “They have lost their crops, homes and livestock for the second time – and been pushed from last year’s disaster to this one,”.said Khan.
Some 5.3 million people are now affected by the floods in Pakistan and the situation is expected to worsen in the coming days. More than 4.2 million acres of land has been flooded and 1.59 million acres of standing crops destroyed in Sindh.
Oxfam will be supplying clean water and sanitation to nearly 850,000 people affected by the flooding. It is already delivering water to two of the worst affected districts of Sindh province, Sanghar and Mirpurhkhas, while rescue and evacuation operations are also being carried out in Sanghar, Tando Allahyar, Umerkot. Oxfam also has plans to help people get access to food and is developing projects to help people earn a living.
With the government of Pakistan calling for international support, the agency urges donor governments to dig deep into their pockets and respond to the urgent basic needs of the women, men and children affected once again by a natural disaster.
“The crisis is multiplying each passing day. The international community needs to expedite its response to ensure that millions affected get the help they need as soon as possible,” said Khan.
Oxfam also warned that slow repairs to river embankments and other protective measures after last year’s flooding had made the population more vulnerable to this year’s flooding. For example, embankments in Sindh province have reportedly been increased by only two or three feet, rather than the recommended six feet. Oxfam called on the government and donors to invest more in measures to reduce the impact of disasters, such as flood-resistant housing and effective early warning systems.