International aid agency ActionAid is providing emergency relief to 173,000 of the most vulnerable people affected by the huge floods in India and Pakistan.
Bijay Kumar, ActionAid’s Head of Emergencies, said: “The scale of India and Pakistan’s flood devastation is massive; more than 8 million people are affected. ActionAid’s flood relief effort is well underway, targeting those that ordinarily have the least access to relief and rehabilitation, including women and children, people with disabilities and minority groups.
“ActionAid and its partners are working round the clock to get urgently-needed relief to more than 173,00,000 people in the state of Orissa in India and Badin and UmerKot in the Sindh province of Pakistan. Shelter, clean water, food and health and hygiene items are top priorities, along with providing fodder for animals.”
In Orissa, the flooding is so bad that some areas are almost impossible to reach. Where feasible, boats are being used, but volunteers are also having to wade and swim through the flood water to get to people. In Pakistan, 90% of Sindh’s Badin district is under water. In most areas here, the water level is eight feet deep, leaving no space to set up refugee camps.
The situation is likely to get worse over the next few weeks, Kumar said. “There is widespread homelessness, many people are stranded and crops and livestock have been destroyed. Water sources have been contaminated by flood water so there is a real and immediate threat of disease.
“ActionAid is also carrying out a needs assessment with affected communities in the region, so that we can develop longer term response plans. At the same time, we are advocating for more effective national policies on emergencies and improved implementation. In addition, Disaster Risk Reduction programmes are essential to develop resilience of the most vulnerable communities to future disasters.”