Direct Relief is coordinating response efforts with partners in Pakistan to help the millions of people displaced by extreme flooding throughout the country. Partners are echoing news reports that the northwestern region has been hit particularly hard, destroying bridges and cutting off villages that are home to tens of thousands of people.
“It’s a very horrible situation,” reports Dr. Bakht Sarwar, of the Pakistan Institute of Prosthetic and Orthotic Sciences (PIPOS). “Peshawar has been completely cut off from the rest of the country for four days. I tried and managed yesterday to go to village by foot, boat, and car to see the situation with my own eyes. It’s water, water everywhere…I want to help however I can. Once again, thank you for your concern and help.”
Broken sanitation systems as well as standing and contaminated water pose the biggest health threats during flood events. The World Health Organization and local health ministers have indeed named waterborne diseases—including diarrhea, typhoid, malaria, cholera, and infections of the skin and eyes—as health concerns for people affected by the floods in Pakistan.
Direct Relief’s longtime partner in Pakistan, the American Refugee Committee (ARC), reports that its team is gearing up for a response and has sent mobile health units to assist marooned basic health units in Swat. Brett Williams, Direct Relief’s Director of Emergency Response, is in contact with ARC’s senior program coordinator in Pakistan to help facilitate medical aid and identify specific needs from standing inventory.
The United Nations estimates that a million people across Pakistan have been affected by the floods, while reported deaths range from 1,100 to 3,000. Direct Relief will continue to stay in close contact with partners in the country responding to this widespread emergency to assist in the most appropriate, targeted way possible.