A desperate and largely unknown humanitarian crisis is deteriorating in the Lake Chad Basin region of West Africa, forcing millions of people to flee their homes and leaving millions more in need of humanitarian assistance. Oxfam is providing life-saving support but help is urgently needed to prevent the crisis turning into a catastrophe.
The gains made and the lives saved through flood-relief activities in Pakistan are in jeopardy as critical emergency-response supplies run low, the international aid agency, Oxfam, said today, calling on the donor community to urgently fund the response to the recent floods.
According to the UN, humanitarian agencies are low on relief supplies and will run out of resources in a few weeks unless donors immediately step up their response. Oxfam said that continuous humanitarian aid is needed for at least six months to support the people affected by floods in Sindh and Balochistan provinces.
So far, the relief activities have barely scratched the surface. Two weeks into a UN appeal, the UN’s Rapid Response Plan is only six percent funded. More than 60 percent of the affected population needs safe drinking water and 85 percent of the people need sanitation facilities. Food is needed for 2.75 million people, while 2.96 million people are in urgent need of medical care. Together with this, at least 1.75 million people require emergency shelter.
According to the latest figures, 72.9 million people in Pakistan fall below the poverty line while hundreds of thousands of others barely manage to have their basic needs met. Given that 80 percent of the people affected by the floods are poor rural farmers who depend on agriculture for food and income, the loss of 73 percent of standing crops, 36 percent of livestock and 67 percent of food stocks means many more people are now below the poverty line..
“Immense and continued support is needed to help people get back on their feet. Oxfam fears the long-term impact of the flooding will be exceptionally hard on farmers,” said Neva Khan, Oxfam’s country director in Pakistan.
It’s thought that it will take months for the flood waters to recede. However, according to the latest reports, fields will become unviable for the next harvest if waters do not diminish in less than three months. This puts the upcoming Rabi crop and the future of thousands of farmers in doubt.
“Everyone – the donors and the humanitarian community – must understand that the Pakistani people need more than just short-term relief. They have lost everything: their crops, property and their source of income. Their lives have been destroyed. They will require long-term support to help jump start their lives. All relief efforts will come to a halt if donors don’t respond quickly with funding,” said Khan.
Slideshow: Oxfam responds to fresh flooding in Pakistan
Notes to editors
- Photos from Pakistan are available on request.
- Oxfam staff are available for interviews.
- Nearly two weeks into the appeal, only $19 million has been contributed to the UN’s $357 million Rapid Response Plan.
- Oxfam and our partners have reached more than 442,727 people. We have provided 250,082 people with clean water supplies, conducted hygiene promotion sessions with 16,938 people, provided 31,507 people with hygiene kits and assisted in the search and rescue of 58,208 people. Oxfam aims to reach 850,000 people over the duration of its response and is working in the eight worst affected districts of Sindh.
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