Pakistan Emergency: Support for the Victims of the Humanitarian Catastrophe

Project location: PAKISTAN
Project start date: January 2011 - Project end date: January 2011
Project number: 2010-82
Beneficiary: UNHCR


Over the course of the 2010 monsoon season, Pakistan experienced the worst floods in its history. Heavy rainfall, flash floods and revering floods combined to create a moving body of water equal in dimension to the land mass of the United Kingdom. The floods affected 84 districts out of a total of 121 districts in Pakistan, and more than 20 million people - one-tenth of Pakistan's population - devastating villages from the Himalayas to the Arabian Sea. The floods were initially confined to Balochistan, however, the rains quickly spread to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) and later to Sindh and Punjab provinces. While the rains have diminished or ceased in certain areas, the prospect of further downpours cannot be ruled out especially in southern Punjab and Sindh provinces. Furthermore, the overflow of the River Indus has been displacing communities along its banks, and has caused further destruction in the southern areas. According to Government figures, torrential rains have claimed the lives of some 1,600 people and affected more than 20 million people. Vast agricultural lands have been washed away and the damage to infrastructure is considerable.

In light of its mandate and considered the previous presence of UNHCR in Pakistan to support Afghan refugees, UNHCR was one of the first agencies to provide support and primary assistance to the victims of the violent flood that hit Pakistan last summer. UNHCR responded to the Government's request for assistance by delivering tents and non-food items (NFIs) to the affected population.

From December, as the winter season reached its peak, the flood-affected parts of Pakistan started facing an unusually harsh weather. Sindh being the hottest of the provinces in Pakistan is facing temperatures as low as Peshawar in the north. Dense fog and cold winds with occasional showers has made the lives of people residing in the Internally Displaced People camps very difficult. As the New Year dawns, UNHCR has scaled up its distribution of winter aid among the flood victims in camps as well as the return areas across the country. The winterization distribution aimed to assist 112,000 most vulnerable individuals in southern Punjab, 273,000 people in Sindh, more than 400,000 people in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) and 57,000 people in Balochistan. The distribution is prioritised based on vulnerability of the flood-affected population.

To date, more than 1,417,900 WATAN card applicants have been processed and almost 1,416,800 cards have been issued. Although registration centres officially closed at the end of Dec 2010, National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) is continuing to register and verify persons who were missed out in the process.

UNHCR is monitoring the process in the field and responding to any complaints of discrimination and persons missed out of the process by working closely with the authorities to ensure a fair process and inclusion.

In addition, UNHCR's overall objective is to meet the shelter needs of two million persons and household needs of one million persons. Provision of different types of shelters (family tents, plastic tarpaulins or transitional shelters) is determined by their vulnerabilities, size of the families as well as level of the damage to their homes. The one million beneficiaries of household items could also receive shelter assistance. Therefore, for planning purposes, the total planning figure of two million shelter recipients is inclusive of those who may receive Non Food Items.

Due to the unusual cold weather, in December it emerged an immediate need for the distribution of winterization items in the various camps across the province in order to assist the flood-affected population. To this aim the purchase and distribution of all weather tents became urgent in order to provide affected families with a proper shelter to repair from low temperatures.

Funds received from Foundation Nando Peretti were used exactly for this purpose. In particular to purchase and distribute 180 all weather tents, as part of the winterization kits distributed in all KPK, to 180 affected families in the area of Peshawar, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK).

Considering that families are composed by an average of 5 people, it means that funds allocated by Foundation Nando Peretti allowed to reach a target of around 900 people.

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