Thursday, December 09, 2010

Still one million displaced in Pakistan from flooding

Even though the flooding in Pakistan took place some time ago, there are still over a million people displaced from it. There is a large area in southern Pakistan where the waters have still not receded, so people who used to live in this area still can not return. In the meantime, there are over a million people who still need food, shelter and water from the international community while they wait.

From Reuters, writer Nita Bhalla talks to the U.N. about the latest conditions in 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,” Manuel Bessler, head of the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Pakistan, told AlertNet in an interview.

“The basic survival items of food, water and sanitation, shelter and healthcare are urgently required."

The floods, sparked by unusually heavy monsoon rains, caused Pakistan's mighty Indus river to burst its banks, inundating one-fifth of the country and forcing millions to flee.

Hundreds of thousands of acres of crops have been destroyed and infrastructure such as roads, schools and bridges have been damaged in the provinces of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Baluchistan in the north, and Punjab and Sindh in the south.

The United Nations says it needs $1.9 billion to provide displaced populations with basic relief items as well as help those returning to repair their homes and generate some income.

But Bessler said donors have only contributed about 49 percent of the funds required and more is urgently needed -- especially for shelter and health services for the 500,000 people who are living in makeshift settlements.

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