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Flood relief brings clean water back to families

Pakistan, March 22, 2012

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  • pakistan-201109-mercycorps-0001.jpg
    A temporary housing camp in Sindh. Photo: Mercy Corps Photo: pakistan-201109-mercycorps-0001.jpg
  • pakistan-201109-mercycorps-0003.jpg
    Drilling new wells for fresh water in the town of Tando Bago. Photo: Mercy Corps Photo: pakistan-201109-mercycorps-0003.jpg

After barely recovering from historic floods in 2010, millions of people in Pakistan were hit once again with a heavy monsoon season last fall. The returning floods washed away homes and displaced families, leaving them not only homeless and hungry, but vulnerable to disease without access to clean water and sanitation facilities.

In addition to responding immediately with mobile medical clinics to treat injuries and illness, Mercy Corps has worked over the last six months to restore clean water, crucial village infrastructure, and temporary income opportunities to those whose crops and livestock were washed away in the flooding.

Since September, our teams have reached more than half a million flood-affected residents in Swat, Sindh and Balochistan, trucking in water, installing hand pumps and small water storage tanks, constructing latrines, distributing hygiene kits and promoting their proper use. Our work also rebuilt crucial transportation links and irrigation channels to strengthen water distribution in the face of future heavy rains.

Reports say that 92 percent of the area's cotton and 81 percent of the sugar cane crops were lost, leaving many without a means to rebuild their lives. So Mercy Corps also provided temporary employment to nearly 45,000 households through cash-for-work projects, and supported small businesses to bring commerce and services back to villages that emerged from the floodwater.

Still, the U.N. recently estimated that 10,000 families cannot return home in Sindh, where 10 percent of the province is still underwater. We continue to work to improve the delivery of water and sanitation services to those who remain displaced, and look for opportunities to empower communities' resilience against natural disasters in the longterm.