According to a press release, the American Red Cross will financially participate in emergency relief and recovery efforts following Pakistan’s recent floods in which as many as 300 people died and more than 1.5 million others have been impacted.
The International Federation made a preliminary appeal on behalf of the Pakistan Red Crescent Society, following the recent cyclone with its devastating winds and floods. This initial contribution will go toward distributing food, supplies, shelter and other relief and health items to 98,000 survivors for six months.
Alex Mahoney is the regional manager of Asia and the Middle East for International Disaster Response at the American Red Cross. According to the press release, Mahoney said it was “because of the generosity of people in America, the American Red Cross was able to provide an international relief delegate and funds to assist in the early stages of the Pakistan flood response – when survivors need it most. The American Red Cross will continue to work with the International Federation, our sister societies throughout the world, and the international community to help Pakistan recover from this disaster.”
According to the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the current situation in southern Pakistan began on June 23, when Tropical Storm Yemyin intensified into a cyclone of violent windstorms, heavy rain and flash floods that killed hundreds and displaced hundreds of thousands. The area most affected is Baluchistan, said to be Pakistan’s largest and poorest province. The province is bordered by Iran, Afghanistan and the Arabian Sea and was officially declared a disaster on July 1. In addition to the death toll and human suffering, the flooding has significantly impacted the fishing industry and agricultural livelihoods, as well as other commercial and port activities along the coast.
Since then, money and numerous other disaster relief efforts and contributions have been at work in Pakistan to assist survivors, recover the dead and locate people in areas not yet reached with aid.
According to a July 13 Mercy Corps press release, many survivors in villages cut off by flood waters are just now being reached with emergency kits containing food, water and basic supplies such as soap, candles, matches and wash buckets. The displaced residents are sleeping along the main road in makeshift shelters, as they wait on relief workers in daytime temperatures said to be as high as 118 degrees Fahrenheit. So far, with assistance from the USAID, several thousand kits have been distributed, and three health camps have been opened to treat dehydration, eye irritations and infections.
The American Red Cross has been continually active in disaster relief efforts in Pakistan since the October 8, 2005, earthquake that killed more than 73,000 people and displaced some 3.5 million more. According to the Red Cross’s report, hundreds of thousands of people are still without adequate housing. In March, the Red Cross contributed $1.5 million, including repair kits, supplies and roofing materials to help in this ongoing relief effort, and it is anticipated more relief will be coming to assist in the help that is needed since the June 23 cyclone. .
Press release, American Red Cross Provides $190,000 for Pakistan Flood Relief; http://www.redcross.org/pressrelease/0,1077,0_314_6854,00.html
Press release, Pakistan: Mercy Corps reaches villages unvisited by aid; http://www.reliefweb.int/rw/rwb.nsf/db900sid/TBRL-753RBC?OpenDocument&emid=FF-2007-000082-PAK
American Red Cross; http://www.reliefweb.int/rw/RWB.NSF/db900SID/YSAR-6ZARXT?OpenDocument