ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, Aug. 1 /CNW/ - World Vision is planning a rapid
response in Pakistan as unprecedented monsoon rains have triggered flash
floods killing more than 1,300 people. With hundreds of people missing
and more rain expected, World Vision fears the death toll could rise
further. The relief group hopes to begin distributions of food and clean
water as early as tomorrow, but can only use small trucks to transport
aid because roads and bridges have been damaged and remain blocked by
standing water. World Vision is also planning to provide medical
assistance, shelter, hygiene kits and other basic relief items as soon
Children and women who are suffering from poor health and unhygienic
conditions are most at risk, the aid group warns. World Vision's
response will target families in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (formerly
known as the North West Frontier Province), where thousands of mud
houses have been washed away, leaving people living along roadsides,
roof tops and seeking refuge on higher ground. The heavy rains and
flooding have also caused significant losses to livestock and damage to
agricultural crops, fields and warehouses for grain storage.
"There is now a real danger of the spread of water-borne diseases and
possibly cholera, as well as complications such as respiratory problems
and skin allergies," said Shaharyar Bangash, World Vision's program
manager, from Peshawar.
Bangash, who has spent four days in the flood zone assessing the needs
and coordinating World Vision's response, described roadsides littered
with dead animals and increasingly desperate families: "Drinking water
is the most urgent need now, even more than food. Children have been
wearing the same muddy clothes for three days now, and many of them have
visible skin diseases. Between rains, the sun and heat add to their
misery. Families are also struggling to bury their dead, as there is no
dry land to bury them."
Meanwhile, the aid group's director in Pakistan warned that funds were
running low. "The needs are massive right now, and World Vision has the
experts and plans to help thousands. But without funding from
international donors, our response will be severely limited," said World
Vision's Edward Aquino from Islamabad.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK), Baluchistan and Punjab are the worst-affected
areas of the flooding. In KPK alone, at least 550,000 people and 25
districts have been impacted by the most severe floods since 1929. The
UN estimates that more than one million people have been affected by the
flooding. World Vision has worked in Pakistan since 1992, and has more
than 150 staff.
Canadians wishing to help can make a donation by visiting
WorldVision.ca or by calling: 1-800-268-5528 (English),
World Vision is a Christian relief, development and advocacy
organization dedicated to working with children, families and
communities to overcome poverty and injustice. We serve all people
regardless of religion, race, ethnicity or gender.
SOURCE World Vision Canada
For further information: For further information:
Britt Hamilton, 905-565-6200 x.3973, cell: 416-419-1321, britt_hamilton@WorldVision.ca