Stocks run out in Pakistan’s flood-hit areas: UN

October 30th, 2011 - 12:41 am ICT by IANS  

Islamabad, Oct 29 (IANS) The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said Saturday that needs of flood-hit Pakistani people are rising as winter approaches and reported outbreaks of waterborne diseases.

Heavy monsoon rains in August caused floods in southern Sindh province and affected over five million people. Nearly 300 people had been killed and nearly 1 million homes had been destroyed and 72 percent of crops ruined in the worst-affected areas,

In southern Sindh, stagnant water remains a major environmental and health hazard, and water-borne diseases such as malaria and dengue are on the rise, OCHA said.

OCHA has warned that funding for humanitarian assistance in the country remains low, with stocks of some relief items severely depleted.

Access to clean drinking water remains critical and the onset of winter in mid-November in most parts of flood-affected areas means that people will require more winterized shelter, OCHA said.

Although receding water levels have allowed some displaced people to return to their villages, relief needs continue because of poor sanitation in areas where homes, crops and livestock were lost to the floods, it said.

Since the beginning of the latest floods, about 1.8 million people or 50 percent of those in need have been provided with food, while 700,000 received essential medical services, according to OCHA.

An estimated 375,000 people (76 percent) have emergency shelter and 870,000 of the affected population (35 percent) received clean water.

The rapid response plan launched on Sep 18 is only 23 percent funded, with only 80 million of the requested $357 million received so far.

Unless additional resources are made available, UN agencies warn that most relief stocks are likely to run out, according to OCHA.

Pakistan has been severely affected by floods for the second consecutive year, leaving more than five million people in need of safe drinking water, sanitation services, food, shelter materials and other essential support.

Pakistan was hit by the worst floods in its history in 2010, with 21 million people affected.

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