Rescue efforts in Pakistan affected by ongoing heavy rain

August 4th, 2010 - 12:58 am ICT by BNO News  

ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN (BNO NEWS) — Rescue efforts after Pakistan’s unprecedented flooding are being hampered by heavy rains in several regions, an aid group said on Tuesday.

Pakistan is facing its worst floods in 80 years, but ongoing harsh weather is making rescue operations and evacuations a complicated matter worse with the death toll now reaching 1,500 with over 2.5 million people affected.

The rains had stopped in the past few days allowing rescue teams and emergency response teams better access but the situation on the ground remains extremely challenging.

ActionAid reported helping more than 3,300 families - over 23,000 people - in the worst hit areas. The group is working with partners to distribute food to 1,800 families including rice, sugar, pulses, oil and tea in the Punjab areas of Kot Adu, Layyah, Khoshab and Bhakar

Twelve medical camps have been set up in these areas providing life-saving medicines and support from local doctors. In the districts of Azad Jammu Kashmir and Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa, which includes the hard hit areas of Swat and Swabi. The agency is also providing sheets, mattresses and mosquito nets to displaced survivors who have been left most vulnerable by the floods.

“The destruction is vast: whole villages and settlements have been washed away, the entire geography of the area has been altered. It is hard to believe that buildings, roads and trees could disappear so fast,” Zia Nawab, an ActionAid partner working in Swat, said. “This time there is nothing left. What people need right now is food, water and clothing. Everyone is affected in one way or another but those whose houses have been washed away are most in need.”

“People are desperately waiting for rescue and relief. The government’s response cannot reach everyone. Helicopters are flinging out food packages in hard-to-reach areas but it is not enough. Access to most affected areas is difficult as roads and bridges have been damaged. With more heavy rain, rivers could burst their banks - the situation is now at tipping point.”

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