ActionAid International USA

ActionAid works alongside poor and vulnerable people to end poverty and the injustices that cause it.
Sep 7, 2010

ActionAid’s Pakistan Flood Emergency Response

Photo: ActionAid. Saeed Bibi and her son
Photo: ActionAid. Saeed Bibi and her son

Although flood waters have started to recede in some parts of Pakistan, new areas continue to be flooded, particularly in the south of the country. ActionAid Pakistan has so far reached out to over 58,000 people across 10 districts. New activities in Balochistan, including psychosocial care activities, are due to start within the next week.

Medical camps have been set up in some of the hardest hit regions, allowing us to provide life-saving medicines and support from local doctors. In the districts of Azad Jammu Kashmir and Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa – which includes the hard hit areas of Swat and Swabi – we are also supplying sheets, mattresses and mosquito nets to displaced survivors who have been left most vulnerable by the floods.

ActionAid was the first to reach those hit by the disaster in Kot Addu with rescue and relief support. So far, ten relief camps have been set up in government buildings and 10,620 people have been provided with food, medical care and washing facilities. We are looking after the specific needs of women and girls. Staff in one camp are assisting 30 expectant mothers – and we're providing female doctors whenever possible.

We plan to reach as many as 120,000 people across Pakistan in the next two months, but desperation is growing with every passing hour. As one victim told a reporter, "Water is still on the rise, and we are in a helpless situation."

Zia Nawab, an ActionAid partner working in Swat, told us, "People are desperately waiting for rescue and relief. The government's response cannot reach everyone. Helicopters are flinging out food packages in hard-to-reach areas but it is not enough. Access to most affected areas is difficult as roads and bridges have been damaged. With more heavy rain, rivers could burst their banks – the situation is now at a tipping point."

Please see the attached document (PDF) for a complete report of ActionAid's Pakistan flood relief response.

Photo: ActionAid. Relief distribution point.
Photo: ActionAid. Relief distribution point.

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Jul 27, 2010

Bihar Floods 2008

Karnataka
Karnataka

Thousands of people were missing in Bihar in eastern India after Kosi River breached its banks in neighbouring Nepal and flooded hundreds of villages in the State of Bihar on 18th August 2008. Over three million people have been displaced from their homes. Independent estimates by Citizen’s Initiative for Bihar Floods, a civil society initiative active in the area, claim that 2000 people have died. Government put the death toll as 117. However, these figures don’t take those who have gone missing into consideration.

Monsoon floods are an annual event in eastern India, and are part of life for many people in the region. But on this occasion, the Kosi River, which arises in Nepal, broke through an embankment and changed course. Flood waters entered Bihar and in the next two weeks, approx. 16 villages were hit by this floods. People were unprepared for flooding.

ActionAid response: Shelter and food aid: ActionAid has reached with over 15,000 tarpaulin sheets, 1000 packets of food and 2000 ORS packets which have been distributed in the few days after the floods. The needs were very basic but critical. For instance, even cooking rice can be an ordeal in these conditions. So we were relied on locally used flattened rice and jaggery as it can be consumed quickly and is safe in these conditions.

We also reached out to survivors in Pratapur, Basantpur and Triveniganj Blocks of Supaul District. Our immediate focus were on providing food and medical aid to women and young mothers and setting up shelters for the stranded. ActionAid partners and volunteers already managed six camps/shelters in Sapaul District that has been worsthit by floods. While three of the camps are in the Triveniganj Block, the other three are in Raghavpur Block. All the six camps/shelters have accommodated 4900 flood survivors. The three camps being run in Triveniganj are i) Lalpatti,Satsang Bhavan, ii) Baghla Bridge, and iii) Narhara. These camps are located in Triveniganj Block.

ActionAid installed tubewells near the camps. Emergency teams has provided survivors with halogen tablets and jerry cans to store water. Health camps has been organized and medicines has been provided.

ActionAid released 3 million INR as initial relief response. But our focus is long term: •Minimising trauma by supporting the emotional recovery of survivors. •Reducing vulnerability of poor communities by working together to identify the risks they face and build their resilience to future disasters. •Reducing risk of future disasters occurring by reducing hazards and supporting communities to adapt to the effects of climate change

As Babu Mathew said, Country Director ActionAid India “A long-term comprehensive response is necessary to deal with relief, recovery and disaster preparedness.”