News Alert: Mercy Corps Responds to Deadly Floods in Pakistan, Hundreds of Thousands Left Homeless
Unprecedented rainfall and flash flooding have left a trail of destruction across Pakistan, affecting 33 million people, killing more than 1,000 since June, and leaving hundreds of thousands homeless. The global organization Mercy Corps is activating a response to reach displaced households, distributing food, water, and cash in the worst affected areas.
In recent days, because of persistent rains in the south of the country, and river flooding in the north, devastation has reached unprecedented levels. Numbers are fast approaching those of 2010, when the country faced its worst natural disaster: over 1.8 million houses were damaged, 7 million people were left homeless, and nearly 1,700 people lost their lives.
The country usually experiences seasonal monsoon rains that support agriculture, but this year's season has been unlike any other in recent memory. The monsoon season typically begins in July, but heavy rains started in June this year, triggering floods and devastation that have continued into August. Experts say climate change is the main factor causing the radical shift.
Farah Naureen, Mercy Corps’ country director for Pakistan, says:
"This humanitarian catastrophe is yet another example of how countries that contribute the least to global warming are the ones that suffer the most. Pakistan contributes less than 1% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. The growing consequences of climate change and limited infrastructure and preparedness have left millions of Pakistanis devastated and in need of support.
“It may take the country years to recover from a disaster of this scale. The rising flood waters have extensively destroyed livestock and crops, jeopardizing millions of livelihoods, resulting in enormous immediate relief needs, and compounding the current humanitarian crisis in Pakistan.
“We are responding to meet the immediate needs of people who were left homeless in Quetta and Balochistan provinces. Our team will be providing clean water, food, and other urgently needed items. We are committed to help communities recover and prepare for future disasters in the months and years to come.”
Mercy Corps has been working in Pakistan since 1986 and was one of the first international relief agencies to respond to the 2010 floods by providing access to water, sanitation, hygiene, primary healthcare, cash-for-work, and infrastructure rehabilitation.