.- The international Catholic charity Caritas is reporting that relief efforts for flood victims in Pakistan are being hampered by high waters, which are causing “massive” difficulties for aid efforts and making communities accessible only on foot.
Northern Pakistan has been ravaged in recent days by monsoon rains which have caused disastrous flooding in the area. A press release from the charity released on August 3 shows the damage and the death toll to be far more catastrophic than originally estimated. Although Caritas reported last Friday that 300 people were killed, the number has now risen to 1,500 with an estimated 3 million affected by the natural disaster.
In an update provided to CNA, Caritas spokesperson Michelle Hough said that reporting on the incident has been challenging for staff members.
“As you can imagine, the severity and the extent of the flooding makes it very difficult to do assessments,” Hough said in an email. “Staff have been stranded in some instances as roads are blocked and bridges are down.”
Eric Dayal, emergency officer for Pakistan, said in Tuesday's press release that the “situation is going from bad to worse and more rains are predicted.”
“As we try to do assessments and deliver aid we’re faced with the major challenges of high waters, which means staff are sometimes traveling by foot in the worse-hit areas, and broken phone and electricity lines which make communications very difficult,” he added.
Hospitals and health centers have also been damaged, complicating the care for those injured in the floods. The damaged health facilities are also increasing concerns about the preventing and treating water born diseases once flood waters recede.
While Caritas reported in their press release that the difficulties in getting aid to victims is “massive,” they are forging ahead with their plans to provide 1,500 families in Peshawar with water, food, cooking utensils, and health and hygiene kits. The charity will also distribute mosquito nets, water purification tablets, hygiene kits and kitchen supplies to 1,350 households in Karkhan and Kohlu.
Last week, Caritas provided emergency relief items to 1,300 families in two districts of southern Punjab.
The group is looking at setting up cash-for-work programs to provide people income after the floods damaged their cattle and crops. “As a clearer picture of the extent of the disaster emerges, Caritas is looking at launching an initial three-month program to cover the worst-affected areas,” the Catholic charity said.