Oxfam urges donors to hurry for saving affectees

ISLAMABAD: Country Director of Oxfam in Pakistan Neva Khan has called upon the international donor community to expedite its response in order to give critical and life-saving relief to the flood-hit people in Sindh.

In a statement issued here on Monday, she said that the lives of those affected by the floods is hanging in a balance and Millions still don’t have access to food, water, sanitation, shelter and healthcare.

“While more than seven million people have been affected by the floods in Sindh since they began less than 50 days ago, Oxfam is urgently calling on the international donor community to expedite its response in order to give critical and life-saving relief to those in need. The international aid agency warned that as the numbers of people affected continue to rise, deaths could increase and millions of futures destroyed if funding remains slow,” the country director further said.    

She said that Pakistan cannot afford a slow response to this disaster. Time is of the essence if the situation is to be controlled, said. Every ounce of resource available including those stocked up in warehouses must be mobilized now, she added.  
She pointed out that since the launch of the Government of Pakistan’s appeal to the world community for assistance responding to the floods, no significant pledges and disbursements have been made.

According to figures released by the Foreign Office, China has pledged $4.7 million in relief of which only $50,000 has been disbursed. Japan has pledged $450,000 in relief assistance, none of which has been disbursed yet, and Iran has pledged two planes loaded with relief goods which are still to be delivered.

The United States is yet to announce any monetary assistance, however it has already provided food, water, sanitation, shelter and hygiene to 30,000 families, Oxfam stated.  
The large sum of the UN’s $365 million flash appeal for the people in Sindh and Balochistan provinces who’ve been affected by the floods shows the staggering scale of this disaster, Neva Khan elaborated.

“The numbers of deaths are increasing each passing day. Hundreds of thousands of people still remain trapped in flood waters awaiting rescue. Those who have managed to escape literally have to fight to get hold of the relief supplies being distributed. The amount of aid available is simply not enough. The government, international humanitarian and donor community, must gear-up their response”, said Ms. Khan.

She said that women and children are the hardest hit.  Citing UN Population Fund (UNFPA) report, she informed that at least 115,000 women in the flood affected areas are pregnant, and everyday close to 400 women go into labor and about 60 of them have life-threatening pregnancy complications. Their immunity against diseases has eroded drastically, and, women who are already anemic are now more prone to diseases and pregnancy complications, she said.

She also drew attentions to the whether situation in the devastated areas saying that as the rains continue to fall and stagnant waters become breeding grounds for mosquitoes, women and children are now more vulnerable to water and vector borne diseases than ever. According to an estimate, over one million children are at serve risk of contracting flood-related diseases.

“The resilience of Pakistanis has been pushed over the edge by two floods in a row. Oxfam places women and children at the heart of all its operations. We are working around the clock to ensure women and children have access to clean water and sanitation to help ward off the threat of diseases” said Khan.

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