Ban Ki Moon visited Pakistan over the weekend. The normally soft spoken Sec Gen tried to rouse the international community into action:
“This has been a heart-wrenching day, and I will never forget the destruction and suffering that I have witnessed”, said Mr. Ban. “I have visited the scenes of many natural disasters around the world, but nothing like this. The scale is so large: so many people, in so many places, in so much need…”I am also here to send a message to the world: these unprecedented floods demand unprecedented assistance”, said the Secretary-General. “I pledge my commitment and the support of the United Nations through this difficult period and on every step of the long road ahead”.
As we enter the third week of Pakistan’s biblical floods, here is where we stand:
20 million people affected. This is the government’s latest figure, which the UN works off of. To be “affected” means to somehow be in need of humanitarian assistance because of the flooding.
As of Saturday the official death toll was 1,384, with 1,680 people reported as injured. A new estimate will likely be released today.
Over 722,000 houses damaged or destroyed. As flood waters approached, over 300,000 people were evacuated from Sindh, a province in south eastern Pakistan.
6 million people do not have access to clean water. 3.5 million children are at risk of contracting deadly water-born diseases, like diarrhea. From the New York Times:
There was a first wave of deaths caused by the floods themselves,” [OCHA coordinator] Mr. Giuliano said. “But if we don’t act soon enough there will be a second wave of deaths caused by a combination of lack of clean water, food shortages and water-borne and vector-borne diseases.”
He said as many as six million people were at risk of diseases including diarrhea-related illnesses and dysentery, typhoid and forms of hepatitis.
“We may be close to seeing this second wave of death,” he said. “The picture is a gruesome one.”
Already, water born diseases are taking their toll. This from the World Health Organization:
In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, acute diarrhoea (AD) accounted for 3 807 (17%) of the total patient visits in all age groups and is the leading cause of morbidity in the flood affected districts. Acute respiratory tract infections (both upper and lower) were recorded in 3 255 (15%) patient visits. Skin infections were reported in 4 122 (19%) of the patients…In Baluchistan, the leading causes of morbidity are diarrhea, and scabies. In Sindh, Acute Respiratory Infection (ARI) was the leading cause of consultations followed by skin infection and acute diarrhea. Suspected cases treated for malaria are rising as more areas with stagnant waters emerge.
Also from OCHA, the agriculture sector is taking a huge hit:
Over 3.2 million hectares of standing crops, representing 16% of the cultivatable area, have so far been damaged or lost across Baluchistan, KPK, Punjab and Sindh, including maize, cotton, rice, sugar cane, fruit orchards and vegetables. Over 200,000 livestock have been lost, in addition to up to 100% poultry losses in some districts. Over 725,000 medium and large animals in KPK alone require emergency feed and veterinary support.
Food is also in short supply. 6 million people are in need of food assistance. Women are feeling the brunt of it. One UN assessment in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) province found: “37% of women in households surveyed were consuming less food than men, while 50% of households reported having no food for an entire day.”
Last week the UN asked for $460 million to fund an emergency response. So far, donors have contributed or pledged $148 million, or 32% of the total. The top donors are the United States ($75,621,599), the UN’s Central Emergency Response Fund,($26,595,962) The United Kingdom ( $40,235,085 ) Denmark ( 26,595,962 ) and Private individuals and organzations ($10,510,184).
More updates soon.