Agency’s teams provides water, food, tools for families in Swat Valley; prepares to move into hard-hit southern areas
Portland, OR— Mercy Corps is ramping up its response to devastating floods in Pakistan, continuing to meet immediate humanitarian needs in the Swat Valley, and preparing to start relief operations in Sindh province. Flood waters failed to recede over the weekend as the disaster and its impact spread. Pakistani Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani reported this weekend that floods have rendered 20 million people homeless, significantly higher than previous United Nations estimates.
“Flood waters are still rising and aren’t expected to recede for another week to ten days. People are on the move and having an extremely hard time getting any relief,” said Mercy Corps Pakistan Country Director Steve Claborne. “People are in desperate need of the basics: clean water, medical care, and shelter, and getting them back on their feet will take many months.”
Mercy Corps is working in the Swat Valley to distribute clean water to 25,000 people per day via water tanks, high-volume filtration units and water purification tablets. In addition, the agency’s 20-person team in Swat is distributing 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.
As floodwaters and people stream into the country’s southern regions, Mercy Corps will expand its flood relief operations into Sindh province. A team of Mercy Corps emergency response experts just completed an assessment of immediate needs over the weekend and will start providing clean water to thousands in the area within days. Mercy Corps also expects to distribute hygiene kits and open a series of mobile health units to treat widespread illnesses such as upper respiratory infections and gastrointestinal problems. In addition, the agency anticipates starting programs to help people get jobs and income once immediate needs are met.
Mercy Corps previously had operations in both Swat Valley and Sindh province, which focused on a mix of boosting incomes, promoting health and caring for livestock. The agency has been able to leverage that geographic footprint to quickly establish emergency response units. Mercy Corps’ flexibility and experience in those regions have allowed its teams to access even remote areas in the face of logistical challenges such as lack of electricity, destroyed roads, and lack of access via waterways.
Mercy Corps has been working in Pakistan since 1986, running a range of health, economic development and emergency relief programs.
HOW TO HELP:
Pakistan Emergency Fund
PO Box 2669
Portland, OR 97208