Pakistan floods: The first year of Oxfam's response

In the first year of our response, we have reached over 2.4 million people with humanitarian aid in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab, Sindh and Azad Jammu Kashmir. Oxfam's response focused on clean water, sanitation kits and hygiene supplies, food and essential household items, shelter, and helping with the initial rescue work. More than 800,000 families remain without permanent shelter and more than a million people remain in need of food assistance. These unmet needs must be addressed as a matter of urgency.

Where we are working

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Water and Sanitation

People collect water from Oxfam tanks in Nowshera. Credit: Rebecca Wynn/Oxfam

After one year, we have reached almost 1.6 million people with clean water through installing water tanks, repairing wells and water pipes, and trucking water to communities with no safe water supply. We have also distributed hygiene kits containing items such as bars of soap, towels, cloth that can be cut into sanitary towels for women, plastic kettles for washing, and buckets with lids for almost 1.4 million people.

Our other sanitation work includes constructing emergency latrines and bathhouses, running public health and hygiene awareness campaigns,and ensuring that hand-washing facilities are located close to latrine blocks.

Read the blog: Delivering aid by foot to Upper Swat Valley


Health and hygine kits provided by Oxfam and the Doaba Foundation are distributed by the camp committee at Kalro Chowk District Muzaffargarh. Credit: Mubashar Hasan/Oxfam

To prevent outbreaks of disease, our public health experts distributed hygiene kits and promote good hygiene practice.

Food security and livelihoods

Many families’ means of making a living were washed away in the floods. To save lives and cater for people’s immediate needs, we ensured that people had food to eat, warm clothes to wear, and emergency cash support to buy medicines.

Cash for work program in Khairpur, Pakistan

Slideshow: Oxfam cash voucher distribution

Then as people started to return home, we focused on supporting people with cash-for-work, establishing projects for men and women to earn money, and helping to restore a sense of normality to a crisis situation.

Slideshow: Oxfam cash for work program, building latrines

As of July 2011, over 600,000 people have benefited from our food security and livelihoods support. This includes:

  • 150,000 people have been able to plant kitchen gardens with tools, seeds and support from Oxfam, and a further 38,000 have been given similar supplies to start replanting land; another 17,600 people have also received advice, food, and veterinary care for their livestock;
  • 36,000 people have been given funds and training to help them revitalise small scale businesses; and 7,600 people have been provided with fishing rods and lines, so as to catch fish, a valuable contribution to a family diet;
  • We distributed cooked food and food rations to over 79,000 people, fully involving camp residents in the cooking and distribution of meals to people in need.


Oxfam has helped to provide shelter for over 232,000 people in KPK, Punjab and Sindh. This has included distributing shelter kits consisting of plastic sheeting with rope, nails, chemically treated mosquito nets, a small toolkit containing a hammer and saw, bamboo poles, wheelbarrows, and metal girders so that families could rebuild their homes in advance of the cold winter months.

In Sindh, where people had more time to evacuate, we provided smaller, more portable kits, intended to aid reconstruction as people returned home.

Search and rescue

Oxfam and its partner helping people in relief shelters in Koth Mithan. Credit: Matloob Ali/Oxfam

In the initial phase of the aid effort, we helped safely evacuate more than 240,900 people trapped by the floods in Punjab and Sindh using local search and rescue boats.

Read the blog: Pakistan: Finding Razia - Jane Beesley reconnects with one woman who'd lost her home

Read the blog: Muzaffargarh, Pakistan: Caught between two rivers


Last updated 25 July 2011.