Founding Editor: Shafqat Munir   

Relief Delivery Picks Up as New Areas Submerged, Shelter Needs Soar 

24 Augustus 2010 02:05:31 nm

Relief Delivery Picks Up as New Areas Submerged, Shelter Needs Soar

Aid agencies, including IOM, are racing to get more emergency shelter to displaced flood victims as more villages and towns become submerged under floodwaters in the south of the country.

According Pakistan’s National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), the number of homes damaged or destroyed in Sindh province alone has increased to 462,000 from 176,000 last week.

“The level of destruction and displacement caused by floods is unprecedented. Emergency Shelter Cluster agencies have already delivered aid to more than a million people and our procurement pipeline has tripled over the last week to provide shelter and household relief items for another 2.4 million. But we will need more,” says IOM Pakistan Emergency Response Manager Brian Kelly.

The Emergency Shelter Cluster of 40 international and national aid agencies, which is coordinated by IOM and works closely with the NDMA, has already distributed over 109,500 tents and 72,000 plastic sheets to provide shelter for some 145,500 families.

It has ordered and is waiting for delivery of another 111,000 tents and over 465,000 plastic sheets to provide shelter for another 344,000 families.

But new estimates from the NDMA put the total number of households damaged or destroyed at 1.17 million across the country. This would mean that some 8 million people are either homeless or displaced and could be in need of shelter support from the government or international donors.

The new figures follow a massive new evacuation of people from Shahdad Kot and Thatta districts of Sindh province, as floodwaters move south, submerging towns and villages in their path.

“The latest official figures suggest that the level of destruction in Sindh could be similar to that reported in Punjab, where an estimated 500,000 homes have been damaged or destroyed. But this disaster is still far from over and the number of families affected could still increase significantly,” says Emergency Shelter Cluster Information Manager Wan Sophonpanich.

Tens of thousands of families who were evacuated from flood-affected districts of Sindh, including Jacobabad, Kashmore, Shikarpur, Khairpur, Ghotki and Larkana, are now living on roads, under bridges and on higher ground in Sukkur city, which has not been affected by the floods. Others have escaped to Karachi, Hyderabad and Balochistan province.