Flooding in Pakistan

Women wade through flood waters with their children while evacuating from Nowshera Pakistan. [Photo credit: REUTERS/Adrees Latif , courtesy of alertnet.org]

20 million people are thought to have been affected by serious flooding in Pakistan.
Donate to Oxfam's Pakistan floods response

On the ground

Northern Pakistan has been affected by the worst floods in living memory – many millions have been affected.

Audio: Pakistan floods response update

Oxfam's Graham Mackay on the international community's response to the floods.

Slideshow: Swat flood response

On film: update from Nowshera

Radio 4: Rain hampers flood clean up

On film: Pakistan Floods Appeal


 People in the flood’s wake were already desperately poor and what little possessions they had have been washed away. The extent of this crisis is only slowly emerging. The more villages that are reached the grimmer the picture becomes.

There is a desperate need for temporary shelter, clean drinking water and toilets to avert a public health catastrophe. People also need medical care and basic food items. We are looking at a sizable aid package that will require a great deal of public support.

Jane Cocking, Oxfam's Humanitarian Director

Photo gallery: Pakistan floods

Slideshow: Swat flood response

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Oxfam is there

We are currently providing clean water and hot meals to over 200,000 people. In total, Oxfam aims to reach around 1 million people with clean water, sanitation kits and hygiene supplies.

Aid worker diary: Oxfam's Zulfiquar Ali Haider on the BBC

A lorry at Oxfam's warehouse is loaded with 455 toilet slabs, 19,000 water purification sachets and 6 pumps for cleaning contaminated wells. [Photo: Amy Christian]Our emergency response includes trucking water and installing tanks to help prevent the spread of water-borne diseases.

We are also providing hygiene kits to help people who have lost everything in the floods, and planning to distribute cooked food as well as running cash-for-work programmes.

You can help: donate now to Oxfam's Pakistan floods response

Where we are working

In the Punjab, we have been helping evacuate people affected by the floods to camps where we are carrying out hygiene promotion and distributing health and hygiene kits. We are also repairing hand pumps and toilets in the camps.

In Sindh, we have been working with the Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum to help evacuate people from Kashmore, Qamber Shahdad Kot and Jamshoro districts. In Daddu district we've installed eight 'de-watering' machines with our local partner SAFCWO to clean out contaminated wells. We've also been distributing hygiene kits to families sheltering in temporary camps.

An Oxfam water distribution in Swat. [Photo credit: Qasim Berech]In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa we are carrying out water tankering and repairing damaged water supplies. We are also providing families with water purification tablets and carrying out assessments on impact of the floods on people's livelihoods.

Slideshow: Swat flood response

 Our staff and partners have years of experience providing relief in the most difficult emergencies and we are already there working round the clock to reach those cut off from help.

We are providing water purification sachets to people who are reduced to drinking from ponds and dirty standing water. At the same time, we are training people on how to clean the water and how to stay as hygienic as possible in such a chaotic and dangerous environment.

The rains started falling a week ago and with every day that goes by more young children will be fighting deadly water-borne diseases. At this critical time we are prioritising getting drinking water to women and children to stem an increase in diarrhoeal diseases.

Neva Khan, Oxfam's Pakistan Director

The situation

A flooded street in Nowshera. [Photo credit: Faisal Gilani]Heavy monsoon rains have caused the worst floods in living memory in Pakistan. More than 1,600 people are thought to have died, with some 12-14 million people badly affected.

Photo gallery: Pakistan floods

The flooding started in the north in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province (KPK) – the region which was the scene of last year’s fighting and displacement – and quickly spread to other provinces.

3 August, 2010: A girl looks at the damage from a wall after her family returned to find their residence destroyed from heavy floods in Nowshera. [Photo credit: REUTERS/Faisal Mahmood, courtesy of alertnet.org]The Swat Valley took the brunt of the monsoon floods initially but swollen rivers have now carried floodwaters to Punjab province – Layyah, Mianwali and Kota Adu have faced massive destruction. Millions of people have lost homes or livelihoods. Waters have washed away thousands of acres of crops, buildings, schools, bridges and railway tracks.

Podcast: update from Oxfam's Qasim Barech

The damage has been immense; whole villages washed away, roads and bridges broken and impassable, massive loss to agriculture and industry. And the rain is still falling, making relief efforts very difficult.

Radio 4: Rain hampers flood clean up

Millions are now displaced or living in contaminated water. The risk of water-borne diseases and diarrhea, especially for the very young, is still extremely high unless people have access to clean water and healthcare.

More on Oxfam's response to the floods

Extreme weather

With what we know about climate change, it is a sad fact that for Oxfam the recent floods in Pakistan are not a massive surprise.

This is not the same as saying this particular flood is due to climate change - the world’s atmosphere is so complex that it is currently impossible to draw such direct, concrete conclusions. However as Oxfam research in three regions of Pakistan shows, people there are suffering more intense and heavier rainfall in coastal areas, more intense cyclones, more intense flooding in flood-prone areas along the Indus, and more pronounced droughts in the arid areas of Khuzdar. It is this flooding along the Indus that is causing such massive upheaval now.

This trend of more frequent, more intense weather patterns - and the increased suffering it brings - is a global phenomenon. Oxfam’s ‘Right to Survive’ report indicates that we can expect the number of people being affected by climate related disasters to rise by 50% from 250 million people in 2010 to 375 million people in 2015.

And that’s why as we react to the immediate needs of people suffering today and this week we need to help the people rebuild in a way that will build in future resilience to the more intense, more frequent climatic disasters that are expected in the future.

Update: 10 August 2010

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In pictures

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View Pakistan floods photo gallery

Pakistan floods photo gallery
In pictures: Pakistan floods

Slideshow: Swat flood response