United Nations Pakistan Humanitarian Coordinator, Julien Harneis stands by miles and miles of water, sharing the plight of the people of Dadu district in Sindh, as three months on they live in rubble of destruction as they return to nothing. They have lost everything. The “destruction is total”, shares Harneis, “people can’t farm, they have lost their seeds”, they have lost their lives and livelihoods. Their coping mechanisms have eroded but they have not lost hope.
Over 33 million people were affected by the devastating floods. An estimated 240,000 people remain displaced from their homes in Sindh Province. Standing flood waters continue t be reported in Dadu, Kambar, Shahdad Kot, Khairpur, Mirpur Khas, Jamshoro, Sanghar, Umer Kot, Badin, Shaheed Benazir Abad and Naushahro Feroze districts in Sindh and Sohbatpur and Jaffarabad districts in Balochistan.
Those who have returned are returning to nothing. Their homes are destroyed, along with social service mechanisms like schools and hospitals. Water continues to stand and they have lost access to means of earning a livelihood. Twitter is not staying silent and we saw a recent top trend #ItsNotOver where people raised voice for the affected people and called for support for these silent heroes.
Poor sanitation and contaminated water resources are adversely affecting the health and wellbeing of children, particularly through cases of diarrhea and other water-borne diseases. Moreover, overcrowded and makeshift shelters, damaged health infrastructure and inadequate water and sanitation have compounded the risk of measles and rubella, along with water-borne, skin, and acute respiratory illnesses.
The floods have exacerbated underlying vulnerabilities that existed in the flood-affected areas prior to the recent flooding. According to WHO, Pakistan is among the top 10 countries in the world with a large pool of unvaccinated or undervaccinated children and is home to more than 600,000 children who have not received a single vaccine dose. The recent floods have compounded the problem, further reducing access to routine immunization services, especially in flood-affected districts. Major immunization service delivery interruptions have been reported in Balochistan and Sindh provinces.
A recent need and gaps analysis in the food security sector indicates a persistent and increasing need for emergency food assistance moving into the first quarter of 2023. A failure to address this need would worsen the already frail food security situation and drive more people into crisis and emergency levels. The food security situation of an estimated additional 1.1 million people is deteriorating and are forecast to fall into IPC 4 (emergency food security phase) between January-March 2023. Evidence from available data indicates that relief response to date has fallen well short of the need, with over 5.1 million people now experiencing IPC 4 conditions in flood-affected areas.