Although Handicap International has already supplied aid to 30,000 flood victims in Pakistan, its work is being hampered by a lack of resources. In response to the devastating floods in Pakistan, since 1 August Handicap International has helped 30,000 victims as part of its humanitarian emergency relief effort. The organisation released €100,000 in general funds to immediately launch its emergency programme on the ground.
The worst natural disaster in Pakistan’s history has affected 20 million people, equivalent to twice the Belgian population, destroyed 300,000 homes, killed 1,500 people and raised fears of an epidemic. The population is in desperate need of aid.
Handicap International has already supplied aid to 30,000 people since 1 August and is continuing its work on the ground. Three additional expatriate staff will shortly arrive in the region to support our 100-strong emergency response team. This team is currently working in the province of Khyber Pashtoun Khan (KPK), and particularly in the cities of Kohat and Mingora (Swat) and in rural areas.
Handicap International’s Emergency Response team is distributing drinking water in the northwest of the country, a key factor in preventing the spread of epidemics, in particular cholera. Handicap International is also repairing water supply systems - pumps and water reservoirs - destroyed by the flooding. The distribution of emergency packs enable families to process and store water, to wash and to cook. A clear-up project has also begun in the districts of Hangu, Swat and Kohat. Handicap International is involving local people in clearing away the waste and debris swept along by the floods, and removing stagnant water from towns, enabling the population to return to the area and limiting the spread of disease.
“Handicap International, like many other NGOs, has not received enough funding for its relief effort in Pakistan, and, without sufficient support, is not in a position to take all necessary action,” says Stéphane Lobjois, Handicap International’s head of mission in Pakistan.
Handicap International is part of the Belgian consortium for emergency relief. See also www.1212.be.
Handicap International has built up extensive expertise in crisis situations following its work in El Salvador and India (2001), Iran (2004), China (2008), Indonesia (2005 and 2009) and Haiti (2010), as well as Pakistan (2005 and 2009). The association therefore provides direct aid to the most severely affected victims. To ensure the most vulnerable, the elderly, pregnant women and people with disabilities are able to access responsive and sustainable aid, Handicap International is setting up local facilities - Disability and Vulnerability Focal Points - located close to population centres. These focal points help identify the most vulnerable and offer care, walking aids and emergency packs according to identified needs.