Pakistan Floods Emergency

Lessons from a continuing crisis

Publication date: 16 February 2012
Author: Shaheen Chughtai, Humanitarian Policy Adviser, Oxfam GB; Cate Heinrich, Humanitarian Advocacy Adviser, Oxfam GB Pakistan Program

The floods that began in August 2011 and swept across the province of Sindh and part of Bolochistan resulted in one of the most destructive disasters that Pakistan has experienced. More than five million people have been affected: 1.8 million people were left homeless and more than 2.2 million acres of crops were lost, resulting in agricultural losses of nearly $2 billion.

Supported by donors, Pakistani officials, military personnel, aid workers, and the affected communities themselves have together saved thousands of lives and ensured that vital aid has reached millions of men, women and children.

But the crisis is far from over. More than 2.5 million people lack basic necessities such as adequate food and durable shelter. Most people who have returned home are still living in makeshift shelters, struggling to keep their families alive and healthy. The threat of hunger, malnutrition, disease and destitution continues to hang over them.

Key recommendations from the report

Pakistan has already developed many of the right strategies and disaster management structures. However, this joint-agency briefing note argues that greater political commitment and resources are necessary to make them more effective and to tackle the social and economic injustices that leave some Pakistanis – including women, children, elderly and disabled people – more vulnerable than others to the impact of hazards such as floods and earthquakes.

International donors and international NGOs should support these efforts with timely and adequate funding and technical and capacity building support.

Related report: Ready or Not: Pakistan’s resilience to disasters one year on from the floods