The number of people affected by severe floods following torrential monsoon rains in north-western Pakistan during the past three days has risen to nearly a million, with hundreds dead and most of the stricken areas cut off, limiting access and relief efforts, the United Nations reported today.
The death toll in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province, formerly known as the North-West Frontier Province, is more than 290 and several hundred others have been injured, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) stated, quoting figures provided by national disaster management officials.
The floods have caused major damage to infrastructure, including roads and at least 45 bridges, as wells as thousands of homes. Search and rescue is the current priority, but authorities have also requested assistance in emergency shelter and food, as well as drinking water and sanitation facilities.
The Pakistani Government is leading the relief efforts, with support from the armed forces and authorities in affected provinces.
An important humanitarian hub and warehouse complex in Pirpai was flooded, making it difficult to move relief supplies to affected areas. In Swat district, the Swat River has washed away most of the bridges along with shops, hotels and private homes.
The UN World Food Programme (WFP) reported it stands ready to provide additional food rations once the access to its hub is secured. The UN World Health Organization (WHO) provided medical kits to the Department of Health, and has established an emergency health response unit in Peshawar.
The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and its partners have set up nine medical camps in Swat and are providing medicines, water treatment tablets and jerry cans. The agency is also supporting the local authorities in providing clean drinking water.
The UN refugee agency (UNHCR) has dispatched the first consignment of relief items to assist flood-affected districts in Baluchistan, particularly Sibi, where a more detailed assessment is planned over the weekend.