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Oxfam begins work with partners in flood relief response in Pakistan

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Men salvage belongings from their flood-hit home in Sindh province, Pakistan. According to the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), flash floods triggered by heavy monsoon rains have killed more than 1,000 people across Pakistan since mid-June 2022. More than 33 million people have been affected by floods, the country's climate change minister said. Fareed Khan/AP/Shutterstock

Working in collaboration with a network of local organizations, Oxfam is mounting a partner-led humanitarian response to extensive and catastrophic flooding in Pakistan.

Oxfam is coordinating a response to flooding in Pakistan in close collaboration with a group of local organizations in two of the hardest-hit provinces of Balochistan and Sindh in the south-west of the country. The response will target 25,000 families and households affected by the floods.

Oxfam’s partners are already working to help displaced people and they will decide on the most important support that local people most need, but efforts will likely be concentrated on emergency food, water and sanitation, including things like personal hygiene kits and temporary shelters.

Oxfam is seeking to raise over $5 million to channel to local organizations over the next 12 months to expand their work. The international aid organization is warning that recovery and rebuilding efforts will take time and will require a very large coordinated international response.

Climate-induced crisis

Oxfam staff in Pakistan say the wild and heavy monsoon rain is a climate-induced humanitarian crisis of epic proportions. Pakistan has declared a national emergency with more than 33 million people, or 15 percent of the population, affected; more than 1,000 people killed; a million homes and two million hectares (4.9 million acres) of crop land destroyed. These figures will grow. Oxfam is calling on a proportionate huge response of aid by the international community.

“Many of those who have lost their homes are now living on roadsides, leading to serious security and safety issues specifically for women and girls, but also the wider community,” says Farah Munawar, Resilience and Livelihoods Project Manager, for Oxfam in Pakistan. “There is insufficient access to clean drinking water, hygiene, toilets, and sanitation facilities. Women and girls have extremely poor access to hygiene supplies. People in Pakistan require urgent access to basic resources and facilities, including clean water, food and shelter.”

“The humanitarian and environmental devastation we are experiencing is a result of climate change,” says Oxfam Country Director Syed Shahnawaz Ali. “Floods are not uncommon in Pakistan, but this is flooding on a scale bigger than anything we have ever seen.

“The rain patterns have become very unpredictable, and we are bracing for further downpours in September. It seems very likely that the scale of the challenge we face is bigger than we have seen reported so far. Further work is required to assess the full extent of this unfolding crisis.

“Oxfam is ramping up relief efforts and we’re calling for coordinated international action to tackle the enormous scale of this catastrophe. Only a well-resourced international response - that emphasizes support to local actors wherever possible - can prevent further loss of human life and injury over the coming weeks and months.

“It remains deeply unjust that Pakistan, which is responsible for less than one percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, is one of the countries most vulnerable to severe weather due to the effects of climate change. It should be clear that Pakistan should not be made to pay the price for the carbon emissions of the richest countries in the world.”

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