Updated 22 December 2010
Four months after the monsoon floods washed through Pakistan, ‘we have a protracted humanitarian crisis in the south where we still have one million people displaced because of flooding in the province of Sindh; the basic survival items of food, water and sanitation, shelter and healthcare are urgently required’, said Manuel Bessler, head of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Pakistan.
(Photo: REUTERS/Akhtar Soomro)
Water levels have begun to recede in the Northern Region of Pakistan and displaced families are starting to return home.
Water levels in the Southern Region are receding at a much slower pace and as a result, humanitarian aid is still urgently needed here. An estimated hundreds of thousands of acres in the province are still underwater. It is expected that the waters will not draw back until late February when spring sets in. Until then, flood victims have no choice but to remain in relief camps and makeshift shelters.
The United Nations reported that ‘the water table is very high so little water can be absorbed into the ground and there is also a layer of sand and silt which is blocking absorption. The only way to get rid of the water is through evaporation and since we are now in the winter season ... there is little heat available to facilitate evaporation.’
About 500,000 people are currently living in makeshift settlements nearby muddy, polluted water.
The distribution of food is ongoing, however, more funds will be needed to continue providing food rations to families.
Manuel Bessler said that ‘this emergency in Pakistan will likely top the agenda at a conference on Pakistan in Abu Dhabi in January 2011, and that hopefully the meeting will raise more aid from the international community.’
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