Australia should boost its commitment to $5 million towards flood relief in Pakistan: aid agencies

01 Sep, 2022

 

With the United Nations and Government of Pakistan jointly set to launch a $US160 million flash appeal for flood-affected residents of Pakistan later today (Tuesday), the aid sector is urging the Australian government to contribute $A5 million in total towards the disaster.

 

The Australian Government on Tuesday announced it was directing $2 million to the World Food Programme for the Pakistan emergency. The sector is calling for a further $3 million to be spent, and for it to be directed towards NGOs and humanitarian agencies with local partners on the ground.

 

Pakistan is in the grips of a severe flooding disaster that has affected an estimated 33 million people. The annual monsoonal rains are around three times heavier than the national 30-year average - and the worst-affected regions are receiving more than five times the usual amount of rain.

 

The death toll has surpassed 1,000. Roads and bridges have been damaged, entire buildings have been washed away, and many homes have been destroyed. Agriculture has also been severely impacted, with an estimated 700,000 heads of livestock lost.

 

ACFID’s Humanitarian and Policy Advisor Natasha Chabbra said:

 

“Pakistan is facing an urgent humanitarian crisis which is expected to worsen. Apart from the loss of life and of shelter, livelihoods have also been severely impacted.

 

"Australia’s contribution of $2 million is highly welcome, and we would urge the government to go further on its commitment now, rather than waiting.”

 

Said Malik Tahir Iqbal of Legal Rights Forum (LRF), a local NGO working in partnership with Save the Children Pakistan to deliver aid in the Sindh province:

 

“We are witnessing sheer devastation from this overwhelming flooding. Entire villages have been inundated by flood waters, families and children are suffering, and vast areas remain underwater.

 

“Right now we desperately need more funding and supplies for us to assist the many people, including children, who have been displaced and are still waiting for help.

 

“Pakistan is accustomed to monsoons, but rains this season have been unrelenting and the situation is by no means normal.

 

“What it tells us is that the climate crisis, if left unchecked, could destroy much of the country and our people.”

 

LRF has been working in flood-affected communities in the districts of Shikarpur and Jacobabad districts in Sindh province, to distribute much-needed humanitarian supplies including tents, household kits and food.

 

 

Pakistan Red Crescent Chairman Abrar ul Haq said:

 

“These torrential floods have severely restricted transportation and mobility. The threat of COVID-19 and damage to vehicles, infrastructure and connectivity are further making our emergency relief works almost impossible. Most of those affected are also immobile or marooned, making us harder to reach them.

 

“We fear the worst is yet to come as these kinds of waters could mean the risk of water-borne diseases are looming.”

 

CARE Pakistan Country Director Adil Sheraz said: “There are millions of people living under the sky, in immediate need of shelter.

 

“More support is required from international actors. The scale is so massive, if we don’t respond now – and with winter approaching – we will probably be dealing with another emergency in two months.”

 

Pakistan's rulers have explicitly linked the disaster to climate change. Climate Change Minister Sherry Rahman said that Pakistan is experiencing a “serious climate catastrophe”.

 

“We are at the front line of extreme weather events, in an unrelenting cascade of heatwaves, forest fires, flash floods, multiple glacial lake outbursts, flood events and now the monster monsoon of the decade.”

 

Australia’s aid budget for projects in Pakistan is currently $A8.7 million.

 


For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact [email protected] or call 0401 721 064.

 

To get in touch with LRF, please contact Save the Children’s Australia office at [email protected] or 0425 562 113.

 

For CARE Pakistan, contact Iona Salter at CARE Australia at [email protected] or 0413 185 634.