Santa Barbara, CA (August 10, 2010)—Direct Relief International announced today that it has made an initial commitment of up to $5 million in medical material aid for emergency flood relief efforts in Pakistan. The organization has been working closely with several longtime partners in Pakistan who are assisting the injured and displaced, which number a reported 13 million throughout the country.
“Direct Relief is committed to helping the people of Pakistan get through this enormously difficult period and on the road to recovery,” said Thomas Tighe, President and CEO of Direct Relief International. “It is a major, complex humanitarian emergency affecting millions of people across a huge area—the immediate need is urgent, and the long haul will be tough.”
On early news of the flooding, Direct Relief’s emergency response team reached out to partners including the Pakistan Institute of Prosthetic and Orthotic Sciences (PIPOS), Marie Stopes Society Pakistan (MSSP), and American Refugee Committee (ARC) to offer medical material assistance. With infrastructure such as roads, bridges, villages, and homes destroyed during heavy storms and flooding since late July, search and rescue efforts have been the priority, according to news reports.
ARC and MSSP have sent medical outreach teams to assist the people displaced by flooding and in need of medical care. Both groups are identifying specific materials and medicines to best support their emergency response and coordinating their requests with Direct Relief’s team. Waterborne diseases are of the greatest concern; partners report seeing patients for skin and eye infections, respiratory infections, and diarrhea, which often occur in flood situations.
American Refugee Committee has assisted displaced populations in Pakistan since 2002, providing basic services including shelter, food, and medical care. Marie Stopes Society provides reproductive health and primary care services to people in need throughout Pakistan. PIPOS was founded by Dr. Bahkt Sarwar to help rehabilitate people injured in the 2005 earthquake, and is now one of the most esteemed facilities of its kind.
Direct Relief built strong relationships with healthcare providers in Pakistan during the organization’s ongoing response to the 2005 earthquake there. The organization delivered more than $14 million in medical aid to assist people injured in the earthquake, with a particular emphasis on prosthetic and orthotic services for the disabled.