Pakistan floods: Oxfam sends aid teams to coastal areas
International aid agency Oxfam will assist about 30,000 flood affected people in Sindh and Balochistan, 1500 families in Thatta and 3500 families in Turbat, following storms and rains that have killed nearly 300 people and left hundreds of thousands homeless in the two provinces of southern Pakistan.
"The key needs reported by our rapid assessment teams are emergency basic shelter material, drinking water, its storage and filtration, kitchen sets and hygiene material such as musafa (water purifier), medicated bath soap, sanitary cloths and washing soap," said Farhana Faruqi Stocker, Country Representative, Oxfam. "According to Government of Pakistan's National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA), over 1000 tons of food is being provided to the affected communities. There are also other agencies providing food." Oxfam is closely monitoring the situation on emergency food assistance.
"We are working with our local partner organisations in both the provinces," said Ms Stocker. "They were part of our joint assessment with other international aid agencies. They will also help form committees of village women and men to jointly identify the real needy people and to manage the relief operations."
Oxfam's assessment teams found that majority of the people were taken unaware and could not take their household's things to safer places. According to media reports, almost two million people have been affected and thousands of houses have been destroyed. The army, navy and air force are being used for relief and rescue work.
"The biggest challenge is accessibility to these areas," said Lisa Reilly, Humanitarian Programme Manager, Oxfam. "The two major communication links, the Coastal and Karachi-Quetta Highways, have been cut-off as have many of the local link roads, adding to the challenges of providing quick assistance to the affected communities."
While no single event can currently be directly linked to climate change, such intense cyclones as the one which hit Balochistan on 26 June, seem to be consistent with models of climate change and have been observed in the region. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Working Group II fourth assessment report, Asia, for instance, says that "while cyclones originating from the Bay of Bengal and Arabian Sea have decreased in number since 1970, their intensity has increased (chapter 10)." It recommends that adaptation to more intense cyclones should be given high priority in temperate and tropical Asian countries.
For further information, please contact:
In Pakistan: Iftikhar A. Khalid at +92 (0) -300 -501 9627 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or
Lilian Peters, at +92 (0) 308 505 2976 or Lilian.Peters@oxfamnovib.nl
In India: Aditi Kapoor at +91 9810306200 or email@example.com
In UK: Sean Kenny at +44 7881655715 or firstname.lastname@example.org