Thirty-five percent of Sindh Province under water; 2.5 million people affected
Portland, OR— As flood waters rise in southern Pakistan, Mercy Corps is quickly expanding efforts to assist families in four districts of Sindh Province. The aid agency is making multiple daily trips to displacement camps with water tankers, building latrines, and preparing to open two mobile health units to meet pressing medical needs. The United Nations estimates that 35 percent of Sindh Province is underwater and 2.5 million people in the province have been affected by the floods.
“This tragedy is unfolding from north to south. In the southern part of Pakistan, flood waters are still flowing in, rushing through communities, and creating tremendous destruction,” said Mercy Corps Pakistan Country Director Steve Claborne. “People are desperate and confused. They’re staying in crowded camps, with friends and family, or even camping out on roads or wherever they can find higher ground.”
The Mercy Corps team based in Sukkur reports that clean water is the most pressing need in Sindh Province. In response, the agency has started trucking water tankers into displacement camps three or four times daily, providing 250,000 liters of water per day for 15,000 people. In addition, Mercy Corps plans to bring multiple high-volume filtration units to Sindh in the coming days, and is working closely with local organizations to determine how to best support their efforts.
Mercy Corps also expects to open two mobile health units in Sindh Province early next week to provide basic medical care for 300 people per day. The most pressing health needs are treatment of water-borne diseases such as gastro-intestinal problems and upper respiratory infections. Lack of clean drinking water and deplorable sanitation conditions threaten to create more widespread and serious outbreaks of disease.
“We will be faced with enormous public health challenges in the next four weeks,” explained Mercy Corps Director of Public Health Dr. Arif Noor. “This could get much worse if people do not receive adequate drinking water soon. We have not yet seen outbreaks of cholera, but we have seen many incidents of diarrhea and other serious water-borne illnesses.”
Mercy Corps continues to meet needs in the hard-hit Swat Valley, where the agency is providing clean water for 10,000 people per day via water tanks, high-volume filtration units and water purification tablets. Yesterday, the Mercy Corps team began delivering hundreds of food kits containing staples such as cooking oil, sugar, salt and rice, and tool kits with wheelbarrows, shovels, hammers and other tools to facilitate clean up and rebuilding.
Mercy Corps has been working in Pakistan since 1986, running a range of health, economic development and emergency relief programs. The agency previously operated in both Swat Valley and Sindh province, focusing on a mix of boosting incomes, promoting health and caring for livestock.
HOW TO HELP:
Pakistan Emergency Fund
PO Box 2669
Portland, OR 97208