It has been easy to lose track of what is going on in parts of Sindh after this year’s monsoon season. Media attention has not been consistent, and there has been so much else happening in Pakistan, and internationally, that commands attention.
But as of October 26, 2011, the situation on the ground continues to be horrible for the 8.9 million people affected across the province. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has tried to remind the world that it is the last thing a hobbled nation like Pakistan needed:
“The latest floods arrived as millions of Pakistanis were rebuilding their livelihoods following last year’s monsoon floods, which were the worst in Pakistan’s history, having affected over 20 million people and damaged/destroyed 1.7 million homes.”
When over 70% of the population works in the agricultural sector, floods that wipe out crops and cattle also wipe out lives, even if they do not do so immediately. “Millions of Pakistanis have lost their productive assets and livelihoods, especially farmers who have lost their current and future sources of food and income,” writes the FAO. “For many communities, the recent crisis has compounded losses from last year’s floods, which receded too late in many areas of Sindh to allow for planting of the rabi (spring) wheat crop. Damage to irrigation is also a major concern as around 80% of wheat planted in Sindh is irrigated.”
Below is a short summary of the human and economic losses in Sindh due to the rain floods, as of October 26. As you can see, only 289,243 people have been directly assisted through relief camps. That’s right. Less than 300,000 people out of nearly 9 million affected: about 3%. Without homes and livelihoods, in the midst of disease, such as diarrhoea, malaria, eye infections and various skin diseases, much more help is clearly needed.
Please locate and contact a local charity or international NGO that you trust, and find out how you can help.
Summary of Losses Due to Floods in Sindh in 2011
Total dead: 462
Number of villages affected: 34,477
Total number of people affected: 8,978,665
People in relief camps: 289,243
Crop area damaged: 2,166,623 acres
Perished heads of cattle: 116,151
Damaged houses: 1,452,395
Loss stats sourced from: http://ndma.gov.pk
Text reprinted with the permission of Newsline Publications (Pvt.) Ltd.