August 5, 2010
SITUATION: The death toll from Pakistan's worsening floods has risen to 1,400, with the flood worsening as raging river waters move from the northwest part of the country to the Punjab - the nation's agricultural heartland - and to Sindh, Reuters' AlertNet reported. Hundreds of villages have been submerged; at least 1.5 million have been displaced and that number is expected to increase. In all, more than 3.2 million people are in some way affected by the flooding.
As the floods have caused extensive damage to crops, livestock, and other food sources in the affected regions, food security issues remain paramount, said Church World Service staff in Pakistan, noting the growing problem of food shortages in affected regions. The World Food Program has also said that the floods threaten the food security of Pakistan.
"As the holy month of Ramadan approaches the country is already experiencing pre-Ramadan increase in food prices further adding to the threat of food insecurity for the flood-affected families," CWS Pakistan/Afghanistan said in a statement today. "Without resources and without access to food, thousands of lives could be lost if food aid and shelter do not reach the affected communities within the coming days."
CWS-Donation-of-Medicine for hospital in Balakot, photographed by Mohd Younus, August 4, 2010
The United Church of Christ has sent an initial $15,000 from One Great Hour of Sharing emergency funds to CWS with a pledge to raise additional donations from members and friends.
CWS is responding in a wide geographic area, working with partners in various districts of the affected regions in providing immediate relief aid including shelter items, food packages and health services. In its overall work, CWS plans to provide assistance to 70,000 people - food assistance to 35,000 people, emergency shelter supplies to meet the needs of 17,500 people and mobile health access for 17,500 people.
The most recent portions of its response:
++ In Kohistan, CWS and partners in Allai have already distributed 500 shelter kits; 500 food packages will be distributed in Battagram starting Saturday (August 7).
++ In Balochistan and D. I. Khan, 500 food packages are being distributed to the most vulnerable families. Distribution of 250 food packages in Sibi, Balochistan was completed yesterday while distribution of the remaining 250 food packages is under way in D. I. Khan. In Balochistan, the CWS and local partner teams are currently in Naseerabad for assessment for planned distribution of 1,000 food packages.
++ CWS's health teams continue to treat hundreds of patients through its mobile health unit in Balakot District, providing free medicines and health education. CWS has rehabilitated three basic health units in Swat District; the units are all operational now despite some damage from floods. Health team members report that the number of patients visiting the units have declined because people from farther distances cannot access roads to reach the facilities.
++ Church World Service is working with other members of the ACT Pakistan Forum as part of a coordinated response.
++ CWS food packages are distributed directly to affected families at convenient food distribution points established in each community and consist of 44 lbs. each of wheat flour and rice, 4Œ lbs. each of beans and sugar, 10œ cups of cooking oil, 7 oz. of tea, and a box of iodized salt.
++ The shelter kits include winterized tents and the plastic sheets, 6 x 4 meters.
++ Work of the mobile health units include patient examinations, providing essential drugs and pre-natal care and efforts to assess the nutritional health of under-5 children.
++ In its relief efforts, CWS has ensured strict measures for transparency and quality and accountability standards through its Strengthening Humanitarian Assistance Program. Ten introductory workshops have been planned for humanitarian organizations on internationally accepted standards in different cities of Pakistan to ensure quality and accountability in humanitarian response for the flood survivors of Pakistan.
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How You Can Help
1. Pray for the people of Pakistan, their leaders, and all emergency response workers.
2. Please help the people of Pakistan by sending gifts payable to your congregation marked for "International Disaster Relief - Pakistan Flooding" with the request they be sent through your Conference office on to Wider Church Ministries.
Send gifts, made out to Wider Church Ministries and marked in the memo portion "International Disaster Relief - Pakistan Flooding" to Wider Church Ministries; 700 Prospect Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44115.
Make a secure online donation to the International Disaster Relief Fund, indicating "Pakistan Flooding" in the Comments box.
Thank you for your compassion and support.