Save the Children Increases Efforts to Reach Families Stranded in Pakistan


Save the Children deployed its rapid response team to the worst-affected and hardest to reach communities in Pakistan's Swat Valley, where record-breaking monsoon rains have triggered deadly floods and mudslides. The team had to navigate the rushing waters using rafts linked to ropes and pulleys in order to distribute temporary shelters and supplies to stranded children and their families.

The Information Minister of the worst affected province of Khyber Pakthunkhwa, Mian Ifthikar Hussain, estimates 1,500 have been killed by the floods nationwide. Now, officials fear an outbreak of disease among the millions left homeless and without clean water supplies.

"In nearly all the flood-affected areas, water supplies have been contaminated," said Annie Foster, Save the Children's associate vice president for humanitarian response. "There are confirmed reports of diarrhea and cholera that may spread rapidly among the hundreds of thousands who have lost their homes. In this type of environment, children — especially those under five years of age — are the most vulnerable to severe illness and even death."

Save the Children sent mobile health teams to provide emergency medical aid to treat more than 1,400 people in DI Khan, Buner and the Swat Valley area. The teams travelled by boat and often had to hike many kilometers to remote villages, where roads and bridges had been washed away.

The floods are now heading towards Muzaffargarh, Layyah and DG Khan and Rajanpur, in Punjab. Heavy rains predicted for the first two weeks of August are expected to increase the difficulty of delivering humanitarian aid.

"People are stranded and are rapidly using up their supplies of stored food," said Foster. "There is a critical need to get more clean water, food and medical assistance to thousands of children and their families in the next few days."

Save the Children has been working with the children of Pakistan and their families for more than 30 years, and provided assistance to those affected by Tropical Storm Phet in June, the conflict in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Province in 2009 and the massive earthquake in 2005.

Source: Save the Children Org.