Friday, August 13, 2010

Pakistan – Monsoon Floods

1. Situation Overview

Latest government estimates indicate that over 14 million people have been affected by the floods (National and Provincial Disaster Management Authorities). Assessments are ongoing to establish the degree to which affected populations are in need of immediate humanitarian assistance. The official death toll has risen to 1,343, with 1,588 people now reported as injured. The latest NDMA report indicates that over 722,000 houseshave been either damaged or destroyed.
Details on the extent of the damage across Sindh and southern Punjab provinces are still being established. Data currently available indicates that Shikarpur, Thatta, Kashmore and Khairpur have been the hardest hit districts in Sindh. Damage has also been severe in Layyah, D.G. Khan, Muzzafargarh and Rajanpur in southern Punjab.

In close coordination with the government, partners continue to scale up their efforts to better understand the humanitarian consequences of the floods across the country. WFP-led rapid Vulnerability Analysis and Mapping (VAM) assessments are now completed in 11 districts in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province (KPK). Multi-Cluster Rapid Assessment Mechanism (MCRAM) assessments have been carried out in 4 of these districts.

The focus in terms of assessments has now shifted to Punjab and Sindh. VAM assessments got underway in Punjab on 11 August. Six districts will be covered. VAM teams are due to move to Sindh on 14 August. Surveys to establish the location of displaced populations in Sindh are ongoing. The strategy will be the same as for KPK, with VAM teams rapidly establishing the overall numbers in need of assistance, and MCRAM enumerators following up to clarify what the priority needs are. An assessment coordinator will arrive in Islamabad on 13 August to lead the work of the inter-agency assessments working group.
The Pakistan Meteorological Department has issued warning of fresh floods in low-lying areas of Sindh along the banks of the Indus Riverin the coming days. Water levels in the river are rising at Chashmabarrage, which is likely to affect several districts of the province over the weekend. The Department has warned that low-lying areas of Khairpur, Jacobabad,Ghotki and Sukkar Districts are at risk of further flooding. Scattered rain and thundershowers are expected across most of the country with moderate to isolated heavy falls over upper Punjab, upper KPK, Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Kashmir over the next three to four days. Hot and humid weather is expected over the south of the country.

Access to affected areas in the north of the country continues to be a major challenge, with Chitral and Upper Dir, large areas of northern Swat, Kohistanand the whole of Gilgit-Baltistan inaccessible by road. Several bridges in Sindh are reported to be closed to traffic due to high flood waters along the Indus River.

2. Humanitarian Need and Response

a. Education

Humanitarian Needs: According to the Provincial Education Department, the floods damaged 727 schools in KPK while 913 others are currently being occupied by flood-affected people. The Department has decided to delay the reopening of schools in KPK after summer vacations until 1 September. Regular activities of the education cluster such as teacher training and support to schools have been suspended. The government has asked the cluster to help arrange fumigation and cleaning of schools affected by floods. It has also asked the cluster to support repair and rehabilitation of damaged schools, and to arrange temporary buildings for the education process to continue when schools re-open. There is a need to provide tents and other schools supplies such as furniture, plastic mats, stationery and note books to damaged schools in Jalozai, Benazir complex and Togh Sari IDP camps. Repair of latrines and temporary shelters is also needed in the camp schools.

Response and Gaps: With schools closed and access continuing to be problematic the cluster is focusing its efforts at this point on establishing the extent of the damage in the education sector and the priorities for support.

b. Food

Humanitarian Needs: Of the 14 million people thought to be affected, it is estimated that 6 million are in need of food assistance. Following the completion of rapid food needs assessments in 11 districts of KPK (which identified 2.6 million people in need of food assistance in that province alone), WFP assessment teams are now conducting a similar exercise across affected districts of Punjab, and will move into Sindh on 14 August. The food cluster aims to commence distributions in identified priority districts in Punjab, Sindh and Baluchistan in the coming days.

Humanitarian Response: By 11 August, the food cluster has reached more than 382,000 beneficiaries in 5 districts of KPK with almost 4,600 metric tons of food. Additional distributions are scheduled to commence in D.I. Khan and Lower and Upper Dir by the weekend. The cluster is now expanding its activities to address immediate food needs in all affected provinces; up to 6 million flood-affected individuals will be targeted nationwide for food assistance over the next three months. The cluster aims to reach 2 million persons in need of critical food assistance within the next 10 days. The cluster has increased its storage capacity in Punjab by approximately 2,700 metric tons, with the establishment of two additional warehouse facilities. On 11 August 2010, helicopter operations picked up pace and delivered the largest load to date (of 25 metric tons of mixed commodities). The total quantity of food delivered to locations still inaccessible by road is now 72 metric tons since the helicopter operation commenced on 5 August.

Gaps and Constraints: The food cluster is currently working to extend its network of cooperating partners across affected areas, in order to scale-up distributions in support of all target beneficiaries and avoid the incidence of gaps. Access – even to those areas reachable by road – continues to be a major obstacle, amid ongoing poor weather. Currently the food cluster is distributing a limited food basket, consisting of immediately-available commodities. Further donor support is urgently required, in order to reach the full target beneficiary caseload with the complete planned food basket.

c. Health

Humanitarian Needs: Limited access to safe water and crowded and unsanitary conditions mean there is an increased risk of communicable diseases among the affected population. This includes water- and vectorborne diseases (diarrhea, malaria, dengue fever) and vaccine-preventable diseases including measles, polio and tetanus. Between 31 July and 9 August, the most common diseases reported have been scabies, respiratory tract infections and acute diarrhea (based on a total of 288,984 consultations). There is also a need for proper management of injuries and psycho-social support to people affected by the disaster. Initial damage assessments show that 89 health facilities have been damaged and that 52 have been destroyed in KPK, Punjab and Baluchistan. There is need for additional life-saving drugs among affected populations. Health assessments are ongoing in affected areas that are accessible.

Humanitarian Response: Disease surveillance has been revived in all affected districts of KPK. In Baluchistan and Sindh, a disease early warning system (DEWS) is in place in accessible districts. In Punjab, disease surveillance has just been introduced. So far WHO and health cluster partners have distributed 142 cholera kits, 125 health emergency kits, 3 surgical supply kits, 550 vials of anti-snake venom, 5,100 hygiene kits and newborn kits, and 700 clean delivery kits. These kits will cover the needs of around 800,000 people for one month.

Gaps and Constraints: Initial requirements set out in the PIFERP total for critical, life-saving, preventive and curative interventions IS US$56.2 million. Additional funds will be required to support recovery of the country’s health system after the immediate relief phase. Flooded roads and bridges continue to limit the capacity of cluster partners to assess and assist all those in need.

d. Logistics

Humanitarian Needs: A number of areas continue to be inaccessible by road. Storage capacity needs to be augmented in Peshawar, Multan and Sukkur.Several bridges in Sindh are reported to be closed to traffic due to high flood waters.

Humanitarian Response: The cluster is in the process of establishing logistics hubs in KPK (Peshawar), Punjab (Multan) and Sindh (Sukkur). Logistics officers are being deployed to each to augment response capacity. All cluster members will have access to temporary storage facilities; interested organisations should submit a temporary storage request form, which is available on the cluster website: ( logistics cluster continues to coordinate requests from participants for transportation of cargo, including airlift operations for the distribution of relief supplies. The cargo request form has been updated and is available on the cluster website: ( airlift operations based in Ghazi continue to deliver food to Kalam in upper Swat, having been resumed after several days of suspension due to poor weather. Two additional airlift operations have now commenced: a Khwazakhela-based operation to support flood-affected areas in Swat and an Abbottabad-based operation to support areas in Kohistan.

Gaps &Constraints: Due to continued rains and high flood levels, areas remain inaccessible by surface transport means and additional helicopter-lift operations are required to provide life-saving humanitarian supplies to districts in Punjab and Sindh.

e. Nutrition

Humanitarian Needs: Though detailed assessment information is not yet available, given the clear risk of malnutrition among affected populations, the nutrition cluster is aiming to provide blanket distributions of supplementary food (plumpy’doz and high energy biscuits) to all severely affected children from 6-59 months and pregnant and lactating women. 63,000 children and 33,600 pregnant and lactating women are being targeted in KPK alone.

Humanitarian Response: Over 754 children of 6-59 months and 585 pregnant and lactating women have now received high energy biscuits as supplementary food in Nowshera, Lower Dir and Swat. Over 800 children have received micro-nutrient supplements and 674 children have been de-wormed across KPK. More than 2,000 mothers and caregivers were given key messages on infant feeding in emergencies including breast feeding. Cluster and coordination meetings are being held in all provinces and at federal level. The cluster currently includes more than 30 implementing partners.

Gaps and Constraints: Funding and quick availability of supplies are the major gaps. The cluster immediately needs cash assistance to ensure supply of plumpy’doz (120,000 cartons) and high energy biscuits (54,000 cartons) to prevent further exposure of children, pregnant and lactating women to malnutrition through blanket feeding of supplementary food.

f. Shelter and NFIs

Humanitarian Needs: The estimated number of destroyed and damaged houses is now over 722,000, according to the NDMA. More information regarding partially damaged and completely destroyed houses will allow the cluster to better plan and target their responses. While the majority of initial responses have focused on KPK and Balochistan, emerging needs are being addressed in Punjab and Sindh. Migration of people fleeing rural low-lying area is on-going in Sindh. Some spontaneous settlements are reported to be in dangerously flood-prone areas. There is also a concern that the affected populations will return to unsafelocations.Large volumes of plastic sheeting which meet minimum standards are required as locally available tents will not be able to cover the growing needs.

Humanitarian Response: IOM is leading the cluster at the national level. UNHCR meanwhile is leading provincial level coordination in KPK and Baluchistan. Target populations in these areas include local Pakistanis, conflict-affected IDPs and Afghan refugees. UN-HABITAT will do the same in Azad Kashmir. Shelter response in Sindh is being planned in close coordination with the PDMA and distributions have begun. Guidelines on the use of plastic sheeting for emergency shelters have been produced and will be disseminated through local radio stations and banners.To date over 55,000 tents and 31,400 plastic sheets have been distributed (over 72,500 households have been served).Cluster members have also distributed 200 tool kits, 52,850 blankets and 15,000 kitchen sets.62,700 tents and 126,000 plastic sheets are in the pipeline, as well as 169,000 blankets and 74,500 kitchen sets.

Gaps & Constraints: The local market in Pakistan will not be able to meet short-term emergency shelter needs for prioritized items (plastic sheeting, tents and blankets).Consolidated and synthesized assessment information is needed as is mapping of extreme risk locations at the local level.A long-term advocacy plan is required to support landless families or those whose land is precarious.While shelter material is arriving in Sindh, distribution planning is being compounded by the on-going migration of people fleeing the rural low-lying area. Blocked roads and shortages of staff on the ground represent additional challenges.


Humanitarian Needs: There is an urgent need for WASH NFIs (hygiene kits, jerry cans, buckets, aquatabs, etc.)Given the risk of water-borne disease across affected areas. Currently available resources can cover only a fraction of what is required. The onset of Ramadan poses increased risks of dehydration among flood affected populations. A rapid assessment of WASH needs in southern Punjab and Sindh is a priority.

Humanitarian Response: Cluster partners are providing tinkered drinking water to around 650,000 individuals (the majority of whom are in KPK where UNICEF, Oxfam, Acted and Mercy Corps are reaching 450,000 people. Cluster partners have also restored a total of 125 tube wells, benefitting an additional 700,000 people. Over 50,000 hygiene kits have been distributed (80% of distributions have been in KPK). 330 sanitary workers and 30 tractor trolleys are engaged in affected districts of KPK for removal of solid waste, including the bodies of dead animals.

Gaps &Constraints: Funding shortfalls and accessibility are proving to be the major challenges for WASH cluster partners.

Cluster coordinators continue to meet in the Serena Hotel in Islamabad every second day (next meeting will take place 14 August). A general coordination meeting (GCM), including the broader response community, donors and government is planned for 13 August. A humanitarian coordination centre has been established in the same location to function as a coordination hub for all humanitarian actors, providing a platform for information exchange and operational planning. Additional international staff continue to arrive in the country to strengthen coordination capacity at the inter-agency and cluster levels.

Outside the Capital, field coordination hubs are up and running in Peshawar (covering KPK), Multan (covering Punjab) and Sukkur (covering Sindh). Immediate priorities at this point include establishment of critical coordination structures, mapping of affected populations, coordination of assessments, liaison with provincial authorities and provision of a variety of common services such as who, what, where (3W) information. Focal points for priority clusters are now in place in these locations.

The Humanitarian Country Team continues to support the implementation of the Pakistan Civil-Military Principles (including the use of military assets) during the current floods response. Humanitarian agencies can contact OCHA (Nicky Bennet) for further information on civil-military issues.

3. Contacts

OCHA Pakistan:

Manuel Bessler, Head of Office

Maurizio Giuliano, Public Information Officer a.i., +92 300 8502397

Nicki Bennett, Senior Humanitarian Affairs Officer, +92 300 850 2289

Susan le Roux, External Relations and Donor

Liaison Officer, +92 308 520 5819

FawadHussain, Sindh Field Hub, +92 301 854 2495

HussainUllah, Punjab Field Hub, +92 301 854 2449

OCHA Geneva

Randa Hassan, Humanitarian Affairs Officer,

Office: +41 22 917 2732

Cell: +41 79 602 3598

OCHA New York:

Ben Negus, Humanitarian Affairs

Office: +1 917 367 4374,

Cell: +1 646 785 9642




Source OCHA

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