One year on, Pakistan’s flood survivors continue to rebuild

28 Jul 2011

image Rebuilding after the floods (Photo UNDP in Pakistan)

Islamabad: The scope and scale of flooding across Pakistan in July and August last year was unfathomable, affecting the lives of over 18 million people, washing away communities and livelihoods, and forcing millions to flee their homes.

A humanitarian operation was launched for the estimated 14 million in need of relief and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) shifted its long-standing presence in the country to start early recovery work with communities in the worst-affected areas.

One year on, with financial support from a range of partners, UNDP’s early recovery work includes restoration of more than 190 public buildings, rehabilitation of some 8,202 acres of farmland, and distribution of 7,000 packages of crop seed and fertilizer, enabling 7,662 farmers to get back to work.

‘I met with farmers who restored their irrigation system and now grow new crops,” said Rauf Engin Soysal, Special Envoy of the UN Secretary-General for Assistance to Pakistan. “This resilience gives me hope and reminds me of the necessity to continue to all work together.’’

More than 170,000 people took part with dignity and self-sufficiency in UNDP “cash for work” projects to rebuild critical community infrastructure and 15,325 people received UNDP support in obtaining or recovering identity documentation washed away from homes and public offices.

In total, since August last year, national and international agencies across the flood zone restored water and sanitation services to 1.6 million households, provided 64,000 shelters, restored more than 3,600 community infrastructures, provided 700,000 with educational support and gave treatments or essential medicines to 350,000 malnourished children and some 14 million patients.

With a crisis of such magnitude, the complicated and challenging response involved collaboration, cooperation and coordination with the Government, other UN agencies and humanitarian actors. UNDP also worked directly with 17 non-governmental organizations in 20 of the worst-affected districts.

In addition to tens of thousands still in need of regular food supplies and housing, some 430,000 farming households in 14 severely flood-affected districts will need agricultural support over the next two years in a country where 80 percent of the population relies on farming for basic livelihood.

“The UN is committed to the continued support of the people affected by the floods in Pakistan and urges the international community to continue supporting early recovery and follow through on the response,” said Mengesha Kebede, acting UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Pakistan.

 A UN report titled Pakistan Floods One Year On was launched today and is available at www.pakresponse.info.

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