Just over 100 days have passed since the unexpected heavy monsoon rains began to flood parts of Pakistan. It may not seem that long a time for many, but for the people of Pakistan, it has been forever.
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID), in its Nov. 12 report on the flooding, quotes UN sources as finding about 750,000 Pakistanis still living in refugee camps or public shelters. 82 of Pakistan’s 122 districts have been affected and 12 million Pakistanis have required humanitarian assistance of some kind.
The United States has provided $562 million in cash assistance and $89 million in other assistance, including military. The Logistics Cluster is reporting that the U.S. military continues to assist with helicopters in the Pakistani province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK), where the initial flash flooding destroyed many roads and bridges in the mountainous terrain.
The water has not receded in southern Sindh province, where the Indus River delta and large areas of low-lying terrain make drainage difficult. The UN World Food Program (WFP) reports that it may be up to six months before the districts of Dadu and Jamshoro have drained. Nationwide, 17 million acres of farmland have been affected.
The Pakistan Development Forum held its third meeting this week and some aid for Pakistan was announced. Japan is pledging to provide $500 million, of which $267 million will be channeled through international agencies. The remainder will consist of loans to the government of Pakistan. The United States has announced an additional $500 million in assistance. These are not new funds, but part of a multi-year aid package already in place. Saudi Arabia is pledging $400 million for assistance.
All of the various international and charitable groups working in Pakistan are reporting serious shortfalls in relief and recovery funding. UNICEF says that it needs an additional $115.9 million for its programs. Oxfam, in a recent statement, blasted the “talk fest” Nov. 14-15 and pointed out that action, not words, were needed. A CARE spokesman states that the “catastrophe is far from over.” The International Red Cross points to the approaching winter, the ruined harvest and the damage to infrastructure.
USAID offers several ways to donate to the Pakistani flood relief and recovery efforts at its website about the disaster.