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Flooding in Asia

posted Aug 12, 2010, 10:46 PM by InRelief Knowledge Manager   [ updated Aug 12, 2010, 10:48 PM ]

The current flooding in Asia has been confirmed as the worst in eighty years. The flooding in Pakistan alone has now struck more than four million people. The UN reports at least 1,600 people dead. Heavy monsoonal rains led to the flooding of the Indus River, destroying homes in the north of the country and causing a large amount of damage in the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The flooding is now in its second week and the situation is unlikely to improve any time soon since in many parts of the country, there is still torrential rain with more in the forecast. For those affected by the floods, disease is the biggest problem now. The unsanitary conditions have already caused diarrhoea and respiratory infections. Cholera and other water-borne diseases may appear if sanitary conditions for those displaced by the catastrophe are not established. Medical supplies are desperately needed for doctors to keep a pandemic from infecting the victims of the flooding.

Many foreign governments and aid agencies are contributing to the disaster relief effort. The U.S. Army has been flying relief missions and airlifting people from areas where they are stranded. The U.S. government pledged 35 million dollars in assistance to flood-affected populations. The money will go to international aid organisations and established Pakistani aid groups to provide food, health care and shelter to people displaced by the floods. Malaysia has contributed $1 million (USD) for relief efforts in the form of humanitarian aid. In Britain, the Disasters Emergency Committee, an umbrella organisation representing 13 of the leading UK humanitarian agencies, has been coordinating relief efforts and has launched an emergency appeal for public donations to help the victims of the crisis. Charities and aid agencies have been quick to respond to the disaster, sending aid and response teams to the worst hit areas. Food, water, shelter and medical supplies have been provided but much more is needed.

The Red Cross alone has distributed 10,000 food packs and 1000 tents across the affected areas so far. However, figures for the amount of aid distributed are constantly changing as this is an ongoing relief effort. In Nowshera, (north-west close to the Indus River) 80% of homes have been badly damaged or destroyed, all of the mud-brick houses have been washed away. In the most remote areas where roads are cut off, donkeys are making eight-hour hikes to reach people. The Disasters Emergency Committee said it has managed to give aid to 300,000 people so far. Many UK charities have been distributing food and medicine, as well as water purification tablets, cooking tools, shelter and hygiene kits.

photo: ©Fayaz Aziz/Reuters