Devastating Floods in Pakistan: U.S. Secretary of State Calls for Worldwide Help
Pakistan Flood Damage (as of late August 2010):
- 20 million people directly affected
- 61,776 square miles flooded
- 1,248,704 homes damaged or destroyed
- 402 Pakistani health facilities damaged or destroyed
- 13,900 square miles of cropland damaged or destroyed
Floods of unprecedented and tragic proportions began in Pakistan on July 29, 2010. By the end of August, over 20 million people were directly affected. About 61,776 square miles (160,000 square kilometers) were flooded.
IMPACT OF FLOODING
The flooding had damaged or destroyed 1,248,704 homes by late August. In the Punjab, 500,000 dwellings had been damaged or destroyed, 99 per cent of the housing in some flood-affected areas. Fewer than 200,000 tents have been provided to flood victims. Many displaced people are living with host families but will need housing materials when they return to their home provinces.
The floods have destroyed or damaged over 13,900 square miles (8.9 million acres/3.6 million hectares) of cropland, and about 80 per cent of crops in the affected areas. Cotton, maize, sugarcane and rice are the hardest hit crops. Over 450,000 draft animals had been killed by the floods, a number sure to grow. With inundated cropland and an estimated 661,400 tons of destroyed wheat seed, both farmers and national production face precarious prospects.
The number of reported disease occurrences in affected areas is increasing. As of the end of August, 402 health facilities in Pakistan are damaged or destroyed. Only 63 per cent of the requested support in the United Nations appeal is currently funded and items ranging from chlorine tablets to mosquito nets are in urgent need.
Many main highways and roads throughout Pakistan are still submerged and bridges have been washed away, limiting access for aid delivery and needs assessments. Traffic has been rerouted around flooded areas, but the routes are heavily congested.
U.S. GOVERNMENT ASSISTANCE
The United States responded immediately to Pakistan’s call for assistance, by late August providing approximately $250 million to support relief and early recovery efforts. U.S. military and civilian aircraft evacuated 9,433 people and delivered more than 2,752,413 pounds of relief supplies. U.S. water treatment units have supplied millions of liters of safe drinking water. The U.S. military delivered over 440,000 meals to Pakistan.
THE PAKISTAN RELIEF FUND
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton called upon the international community at a United Nations General Assembly Special Session on August 19, to donate to Pakistan relief. The Secretary also announced the Pakistan Relief Fund, created by the United States Government through the Department of State, as a mechanism for the public to contribute to the ongoing relief effort. Donations can be made through www.state.gov/pakistanrelief or through mobile phone (for a $10 automatic contribution) by texting the word FLOOD to 27722. Funds will go towards programs run by the Department of State, other federal agencies, international organizations, or non-profit organizations for relief, recovery and reconstruction efforts in Pakistan.