Funding Shortages Leave Tens of Thousands of Pakistanis in Need

Racing to rebuild from 2010’s catastrophic floods, communities struggle in the wake of renewed rains and flooding in the South
A man pumps water from his village's rehabilitated borehole. Photo:C.Brett
A man pumps water from his village's rehabilitated borehole in Pakistan. Photo:C.Brett

Three months after devastating monsoon rains caused extensive flooding in southern Pakistan for the second consecutive year, Pakistan faces a critical shortage of emergency funding—despite the government’s request for international assistance—with millions of in need of critical support as winter approaches.

Aid agencies have reached more than two million affected people with food, water and medicine, however a recent UN appeal for $357 million in emergency funding has received only 27 percent ($96.5 million) according to the United Nations’ Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

Just one year after the catastrophic 2010 floods, the current disaster has affected more than three million people aggravating social and economic conditions in the Sindh and Balochistan provinces, destroying homes, harvests, livestock and livelihoods. OCHA estimates that stagnant waters have destroyed 2.2 million acres of cropland, or 75 percent of the crops in 16 southern districts.

Stagnant Waters Hinder Recovery

In the immediate aftermath of the floods, our teams prioritized the provision of clean water to local villages, initiating emergency water trucking, providing households with chlorine tablets for water treatment at home, and installing 18 water storage tanks in six villages and two camps to provide 3,500 people with 22,000 liters of drinking water each day.

Although satellite data show flood waters have receded, one-third of the flooded area remains under water. For families returning home, sanitation and hygiene conditions may be worse than in the displacement camps: the floods have damaged or destroyed 94 percent of all housing, 46 percent of the region’s health facilities and left 80 percent of those affected with limited access to latrines. As stagnant waters bring risks of dengue fever and cholera, teams have promoted hygiene in the displacement camps, registering 1,000 households for hygiene kit in October alone. Still, the water and sanitation envelope of the UN’s Pakistan Flood Response Plan is just 16 percent funded, presenting a major bottleneck as humanitarian organizations move to scale up their response.

Emergency Nutrition & the Need to Rebuild

Hundreds of thousands of flood-affected people have begun to leave displacement camps, and Action Against Hunger's teams are providing nutrition support and distributions of staple foods. So far, ACF has provided 49,000 displaced individuals with basic staples in October, along with micronutrient-rich therapeutic Plumpy’nut for severely malnourished children.

“We’re taking a two-pronged approach in Sindh, meeting immediate needs while rebuilding for the near future. But unless the international community fully funds this recovery, tens of thousands will face a life-threatening conditions as winter approaches."
—Charmaine Brett, ACF’s Desk Officer for Pakistan.

Given current funding shortfalls, however, food supplies could run out before the end of the month—humanitarian organizations are already experiencing shortages of therapeutic Plumpy’nut—and, with only three weeks remaining to plant the winter wheat crop, time is running out to ensure harvests and self-sufficiency for next year.