By Amna Kaleem
On July 29, flash floods and landslides caused by monsoon rains hit northwestern part of Pakistan. Within two days, nearly 980,000 people had been left homeless or displaced. Three weeks on, the flooding has spread to all the four provinces of Pakistan, about 1,500 people have lost their lives, 20 million have been displaced and 3.5million children stand the risk of contracting waterborne diseases. Cases of cholera have already been diagnosed in the flood-hit areas.
Among those affected are some 1.5 million Afghan refugees who have taken shelter in Pakistan over the past three decades and more than 700,000 people displaced by the War on Terror in the Swat Valley and other areas last year.
Pakistan is an agricultural country, the flooding swept away 558,000 hectares of crop land. At least 10,000 cows have drowned. With the heavy loss of fields, the country will face an acute food shortage not only this year but also the next.
The economy which relies heavily on the export of agricultural goods will also be hit hard, at a time when the government needs all the revenue it can get to rehabilitate the millions displaced.
Pakistan is Asia’s third-largest wheat producer, according to an estimate by Pakistan’s National Farmers’ Association, up to 500,000 tonnes of wheat stocked by farmers has been washed away. The country is world’s fourth biggest cotton producer, the flooding has destroyed up to two million bales of cotton, around 300,000 tonnes of rice have also been lost.
The report features interviews with Salman Siddiqui, senior reporter at Express Tribune, Pakistan and Saad Khalique, vice-president of Faith Foundation, a Karachi-based charity helping flood victims in the Sindh province.
Sheffield City Council has set up donation points at the Town Hall and Howden House. You can also make a donation to DEC by calling 0370 60 60 900 or visiting the website.
If you would like to donate to Faith Foundation, you can get in touch with them on 00-92-21-99250265 and 00-92-300-8246829. You can find them on Facebook for more details of the work they have done so far.
The report was aired on Communities Live on August 13, 2010.
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