Tag Archives: floods

Another year and more floods in Pakistan

Flooding in Pakistan has caused widespread devastation for the third year in a row. Credit: Caritas Pakistan

Flooding in Pakistan has caused widespread devastation for the third year in a row. Credit: Caritas Pakistan

Heavy monsoon rains in Pakistan have destroyed thousands of homes, roads, bridges and farms for the third year in a row. The 2010 floods were the worst in recent history, with a fifth of the country underwater. The 2011 and 2012 floods also caused damage across vast areas. Caritas Pakistan Executive Director Amjad Gulzar says that the current situation is already worse than the last two years.

With more heavy rain expected over the coming weeks, the situation may get much worse. Caritas staff members are on the ground working with people in need.

Read an interview with Amjad Gulzar followed by a radio interview with Andrew Schaefer, the Country Representative for CRS Pakistan.

What has been the impact of the floods?
The whole country experienced a second spell of the monsoon from 31 July to 4 August. The heavy showers triggered flash floods in different parts and caused widespread loss and damage, leaving an impact on habitat, daily life, livelihoods and transport. Continue reading

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Caritas reaching flood hit North India

Floods in North India have been compared to a tsunami. Credit: Caritas India

Floods in North India have been compared to a tsunami. Credit: Caritas India

The early monsoons have brought misery in the life of the people in Uttrakhand, which has been severely affected by floods and landslides following the torrential rainfall in the region since mid-June. The current death toll is raised more than 1000 people with at least 4000 people still stranded.

Bridges and roads have been washed away, but a Caritas India team has been able to reach those hit by the floods. An early Caritas assessment of 17 villages shows nearly 40 percent of the homes have either been partially or fully destroyed by the landslides.

Landslides damaged drinking water sources, like springs in all villages. The communities were either forced to drink stream water or travel long distances to collect water from other springs in the hills.  Villages have seen their crops and pasture washed away. In three districts covering four villages, more than 1200 livestock have been lost in landslides.

Caritas India is getting volunteers to help local communities clean the mud. Caritas India team in Uttarakhand has gone down the hills to the city for fresh procurement of relief materials. Meanwhile, Caritas staff remain busy in visiting new villages to take stock of affected families for necessary support and relief.

Caritas India is getting volunteers to help local communities clean the mud. Credit Caritas India

Caritas India is getting volunteers to help local communities clean the mud. Credit Caritas India

The floods have hit pilgrimage centres in the region, which are visited by tens of thousands of devotees at this time of year. There was a huge reservoir situated above Kedarnath temple, which burst on 17 June and released a huge volume of water. There was also heavy rain in the same area.  Both together caused a huge flow of water and release of silt, which filled the temple and complex of Kedernath and the surrounding places burying thousands of pilgrims and local people.

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Floods in Chad

The floods in Chad have caused at least 13 deaths, affected 445,725 people and inundated about 255,720 hectares of cropland, according to a 3 September update by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Some 73,412 houses have been destroyed. The floods come as Chad still grapples with lack of food caused by drought conditions over the last 12 months. Bishop Miguel A. Sebastián of Laï(Chad) sent us this letter (in French) about the flooding in his country.

Flooding in Chad. Credit: Miguel A. Sebastián

Je m’occupe et me préoccupe dernièrement c’est la situation qui prévaut sur une grande partie de notre région, la Tandjilé. Si l’an dernier il n’y a pas eu assez de pluie, cette année en a eu de trop. La pluie tombe avec abondance, tellement que les fleuves et rivières de notre région ont débordé, chose inouïe ; beaucoup de personnes assez âgées nous disent qu’ils n’ont jamais vu cela ! Cela est catastrophique ! L’eau de la pluie et, surtout, l’eau des débordements a causé des dégâts terribles : des milliers des personnes sinistrées, des milliers des maisons d’habitation écroulées, des milliers d’hectares de culture englouties par l’eau. Terrible ! Continue reading

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Cambodia: Battambang battered by bad weather

Rainstroms hit Battambang in Cambodia, destroying homes and livelihoods. Credit: Caritas Cambodia.

Two people died and around 30 houses were destroyed after rainstorms hit Cambodia’s Battambang province on 4 May. An estimated 116 families in seven villages were affected by rainstorm in Preytralach. Among all the destroyed houses, 20 were fully destroyed while 18 were 70 percent destroyed.

Caritas Cambodia responsed by providing people hit by the bad weather with food aid (rice, fish sauce, salt, sugar and canned fish.)and non-food items (tents, water filters). Caritas also gave Riels 600,000 to each family (about Euros 120 or $150). Continue reading

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Help must continue for flood migrants plead Caritas in Pakistan

A woman sewing together rugs in Gadap Town Karachi. Credit: Kamran Chaudhry/Caritas Pakistan

By Kamran Chaudhry, Communications officer, Caritas Pakistan

Sohni Bibi sat stitching the patches of her tent as evening approached. Her two year old son, barefoot, waited besides as she finished the needlework.

It is now time to push the hearth inside the tents to keep them warm as well as brighten them.

“Cold air gushes inside through the torn walls of our shelter. The blankets available are too short and we have to stitch them together to cover both head and feet”, said Bibi showing a multi-textured quilt spread on packaging material covering the cold grounds. Continue reading

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Cholera and malaria concern for camps in Pakistan

Caritas Pakistan Medical Camp at Basti Chanaawa, Punjap. Credit: Kamran Chaudhry/Caritas

By Kamran Chaudhry, Caritas Pakistan Communications Officer

Spreading waterborne diseases and pregnant women in relief camps are major concerns for Caritas Pakistan.

The World Health Organization has confirmed 99 cases of cholera and 300,000 suspected cases of malaria among displaced populations in the 62 flood-hit districts. Dengue fever has reportedly claimed 12 lives with 1,200 confirmed cases as flood waters recede in Pakistan.

“The health of children is at great risk due to outbreak of waterborne diseases especially cholera and dengue in the post-flood situation. Pregnant women deserve special attention as most of them are anemic and suffering from malnutrition”, said Dr Amjad Yaseen.

He was speaking at Oct. 28 medical camp organised by local unit of Caritas Pakistan Multan diocese at Basti Chanaawar, a village in Punjab province. Women, children and elderly appeared for the checkup as Caritas staff distributed hygiene kits, food and other items at an adjacent building. Continue reading

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Preparation key to saving lives in Pakistan

 

 

Alumni of Caritas disaster training in Peepli Wala Village. Kamran Chaudhry/Caritas Pakistan

By Kamran Chaudhry, Communications Officer, Caritas Pakistan

Villagers living on eastern river belt say Caritas Pakistan’s disaster management course helped them in surviving the recent flash floods.

“I used a tire tube to escape the 20 feet water wave. It was noise and panic everywhere. Several snakes were also among the floating bushes but I escaped somehow. It was as if the river has changed into sea”, said Abrar Khan.

Khan, 18, is one of the alumni of the community based disaster preparedness programme organised by the local unit of Caritas Pakistan in Faisalabad diocese in Peepli Wala, Punjab province.

The village was inundated early August after the nearby River Chenab swelled with water. The scattered population of 250 lives about 2 km from the river.

Khan returned after a month and helped in transporting luggage and even people from one encampment to another. “We were briefed about evacuation plans, rescuing, providing first aid and preparing rafts. Many didn’t take it seriously at first and only 30 attended but the programme actually helped in a lot of ways”, Khan added.

Similarly Mehr Zulfiqar Ali, another Muslim farmer, praised the Caritas initiative. “My younger brother was caught in the high tide. One of the rescuers from Caritas Pakistan’s course saved him. It helped us with guidelines and food”, said Ali.

Caritas Pakistan has been conducting disaster preparedness trainings in a high flood risk areas since 2008. 1210 people participated in the 27 such courses held last year all over the country.

“People know less about the utilities of simple things like tire tubes in times of flood. The programme reduces the risks and threats from disasters and is very popular at grass root level due its participatory approach”, said Amin Babar Disaster Management Programme Coordinator of Caritas Pakistan in Faisalabad.

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