CAFOD responds to new Pakistan floods
Torrential monsoon rain in Pakistan has caused floods which have killed at least 80 people and destroyed thousands of homes, roads and bridges. With more heavy rain expected over the coming weeks, this year’s floods could have a severe impact across the country.
Pakistan has been struck by devastating floods for the last three years. The 2010 floods were the worst in recent history, affecting more than 20 million people and leaving approximately one-fifth of the country underwater – an area larger than England. The 2011 and 2012 floods were less widespread, but nevertheless caused damage across vast areas.
This year’s floods have washed away homes, inundated farmland, destroyed water systems and left tens of thousands of people in need of shelter. People have died after being swept away in the floodwater, as well as because of houses collapsing and because of electrocution. Many of the worst affected areas were also hit in previous years.
CAFOD’s Aude Archambault said: “It’s extremely difficult to keep rebuilding your life when your home and your land are damaged by floods year after year. People who used to consider themselves wealthy have lost their crops, their livestock and their means of making a living. Many families have sold everything they have to survive, or gone into severe debt.
“This year, some families are determined not to travel far from their homes, despite the risks. We have heard reports of people taking refuge on high ground near their villages, waiting for the floodwaters to recede, with no shelter, no food, and only contaminated water to drink.
“Our priority at the moment is to ensure that people have safe places to stay, food, essential household goods and a clean water supply. Our longer term projects in response to the disaster in 2010 are helping people to find new ways of making a living, and to be better prepared for future disasters.
“The floods so far have been because of heavy rain, and because of flood-water coming down from the mountains. If the Indus River overflows, as happened in 2010, the situation could get much worse. We hope and pray that the rains are not so heavy over the coming days.”
Our emergency team is working with our partner Catholic Relief Services to respond to the emergency in badly hit areas of Baluchistan and Sindh Provinces.
The Catholic community in England and Wales donated almost £3 million to CAFOD’s Pakistan Floods appeal in 2010, enabling us to provide aid to more than 365,000 people. We also responded to the floods in 2011 and 2012.