Appeal: Red Cross urges support in wake of Pakistan floods

The British Red Cross has launched an appeal as floods bring misery to millions in Pakistan.

More than five million people have been affected as monsoon floods have brought flash flooding to areas of southern Pakistan.

Sindh province, one of the worst-hit areas in last year’s devastating floods, has been badly affected, with 23 districts affected by flash floods, and five districts declared ‘calamity areas’ by authorities.

Saifal Panhyar, a farmer from Khairpur in Sindh, said his family were lucky to escape as their house collapsed when the floods engulfed his village.

Now, Khairpur is under five feet of water and acres of cotton crops have been lost.

Panhyar said: “Our land is our sole source of income and the crops were just ready to be harvested but the continuous rain and now the flood water has badly damaged them.”

Some of the areas affected are still recovering from last year’s flooding. The British Red Cross has been working with the Pakistan Red Crescent and International Red Cross to prepare for this year’s monsoon rains, getting aid into the most vulnerable areas, ready to be dispatched when the floods struck.

Barry Armstrong, British Red Cross disaster response manager, said: “Over the last few months, we’ve used £1.7 million, donated by the Department for International Development (DfID), to pre-position the kind of immediate relief supplies required for just such an emergency as this.

“Now the disaster is intensifying, and in some areas people could be homeless for some time to come.

“We have emergency goods, such as tents, tarpaulins, hurricane lamps and wood-burning stoves are currently being distributed to those in need in Sindh province, but we need to scale up the response.”

The risk of diseases spreading is high as 300,000 people have fled to the temporary relief camps, but are living in overcrowded and unsanitary conditions. Sanitation facilities are scarce and there is a lack of safe drinking water.

Pakistan Red Crescent has sent five mobile health units to provide emergency health support in six districts, including in the relief camps in Badin, Mirpurkhas and Benazirabad.

Water treatment plants are up and running into two districts, and have produced over 300,000 litres of safe water. Food parcels and other aid such as tents, tarpaulins and kitchen sets have been provided to over 100,000 people so far across the area.

To donate to the British Red Cross Pakistan Floods Appeal, go to: www.redcross.org.uk/pakistanfloods or call 0845 054 7208

Cheques, made payable to British Red Cross Pakistan Floods Appeal, can be sent British Red Cross, 44 Moorfields, London, EC2Y 9AL