In The News

Connecting Philanthropy and Aid for Pakistan’s Flood Survivors

August 18, 2010

In the farmland regions of Pakistan’s southern Punjab, what used to be fields are now covered with water. Acknowledged as the worst humanitarian crisis in Pakistan’s history, flooding that began three weeks ago in northwestern Pakistan has now displaced more than 20 million people.

Pakistan flood survivors

Pakistani families carry their belongs in search of higher ground. Over the past three weeks, more than 20 million people have been displaced from flooding. Photo credit: Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images

Bringing together Give2Asia‘s private donor community and The Asia Foundation’s program expertise in Pakistan, the two organizations are working to attract much-needed philanthropy and aid for flood survivors.

United Nations officials report that the total number of people affected by the floods exceeds the combined number of those affected by the 2004 Andaman Sea tsunami, the 2005 Pakistan earthquake, and the 2010 Haiti earthquake. Yet, surprisingly, the event has drawn relatively little international donor support. While visiting Pakistan’s hardest-hit areas on Sunday, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said this is the worst disaster he has ever seen and strongly urged the world to step up its assistance.

Approximately 750,000 homes have been damaged, and 2.6 million acres of cropland, along with roads and bridges, are destroyed, which makes availability and delivery of essential goods difficult. Riots and protests have already broken out in parts of the country due to the slow delivery of aid.

One reason for the slow response to date may be the low death toll relative to total damage. An estimated 1,600 people are dead, but many more are at risk. Yet, with minimal humanitarian funding to deliver health care and clean water to survivors, the UN warned that at least 3.5 million children are at high risk of deadly waterborne diseases, such as cholera. More casualties are predicted in the coming days and weeks as additional rains and increased flooding are forecast.

Flood Relief Fund Launched

Last week, Give2Asia launched its Pakistan Flood Relief Fund, with initial investments of $35,000 from individual donors. Additional investments are expected from corporations and corporate foundations.

The Asia Foundation’s office in Pakistan is directly involved with procuring relief items in bulk and transporting goods to local partners in affected locations. With Give2Asia’s relief fund, donors can help affected families in Nowshera and Swat, the worst-hit areas in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province (formerly known as North-West Frontier Province).

Partner Organizations

Initial assessment by The Asia Foundation has resulted in three local partners to support the relief and recovery effort. They will work to deliver relief packages to approximately 4,000 survivors. Relief packages will include necessities such as rice, salt, sugar, flour, dates, petroleum jelly, cotton rolls, mosquito repellent lotion, and water purification tablets.

Local partners include:

  • Aurat Foundation (Aurat): Aurat will distribute aid packages via its network of 30 existing child protection centers in Swat, which are currently helping displaced victims of the flood. Aurat has extensive experience responding to natural disasters in Pakistan. In response to the 2005 earthquake in northwest Pakistan and to the heavy flooding that took place in the south and southwestern parts of the country in 2007, Aurat provided provisions of relief items, as well as support services for thousands of displaced women and children in affected areas. With their past experience in disaster response and relief work, Aurat is well positioned to monitor appropriate distribution and ensure that supplies are not being used for any other purposes.
  • Pattan Development Organization (Pattan): In Punjab, Pattan will distribute packages to local relief committees that would then direct them to the affected families. Pattan has been working in Punjab since 1992 when the region faced severe flooding. Based on that 1992 expertise, Pattan became a focal organization of the Asian Disaster Risk Reduction Network, the leading coalition of its kind in the region. Through that affiliation, Pattan has trained over 300 employees of various government ministries and NGOs on responding to such disaster situations.
  • URDO: URDO has been setting up various health camps and free medical services following the flooding in Nowshera, where it will distribute relief packages. URDO has been working in Nowshera since 1999 and has been implementing various programs on education, governance, health, and capacity building in Nowshera District. It was actively involved in relief and rehabilitation work during the 2005 earthquake and the conflict crisis that displaced several thousand people in the region last year.

Learn more about Give2Asia’s Pakistan Flood Relief Fund.

Birger Stamperdahl is the Director of Marketing & Partnerships for Give2Asia. He can be reached at bstamperdahl@asiafound.org.

View all posts by Birger Stamperdahl

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