News / Asia

Aid Distribution to Pakistani Flood Victims Challenging

In response to country-wide flooding, Pakistan has received humanitarian aid and assistance from around the world, including $5 million from its rival India.  But the extent of the disaster continues to complicate aid distribution.

Three weeks after massive flooding started in Pakistan, those affected say aid is reaching them slowly, if at all.

Authorities are quick to point out that the scope of the disaster is something Pakistan has never faced.  In fact, it is the area's worst flooding in more than 80 years.

The government estimates that about 20 million people are affected, while the United Nations says eight million are in need of urgent aid.

Watch Raw Video of Pakistan's Flooding:

Azra Bibi told the Associated Press she lost everything after flooding hit her village in Punjab province. "We are sitting here without food and clothing.  We are starving.  We lost our livestock, crops and belongings.  There is nothing left," said Bibi, through a translator.

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Pakistan has thanked United Nations member states for pledging more than $200 million in response to a fresh appeal for emergency aid for millions of people affected by the country's catastrophic floods.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged the international community to keep up support for Pakistan, warning the country is facing "weeks, months and years of need."

In the northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, Hameeda Bibi shares her misery, as she recounted to AP.

"Our homes have been destroyed.  Now we don't have them.  We are now in open air," she said.  We are not getting food.  We are dying from hunger.  What do we eat?  Stones?"

Waziran Khatoon now lives at a makeshift relief camp in Sindh province with her large family.  Her story, told to the Associated Press, illustrates what humanitarian officials fear as the second wave of the disaster, that vulnerable groups will fall prey to health problems.

"We faced big problems when the flood water reached our village and ruined everything and left nothing," said Khatoon, through a translator.  "Then, I gave birth to this baby, and now I am worried how I will take care of this baby and my other small children, how my future life will be."

The floods originated in northwestern Pakistan, washing away infrastructure in the difficult to reach mountainous areas, and have since carved out a large path of destruction around the country's Indus River, cutting through Pakistan's central breadbasket and southern lowlands.  

Analysts expect the realization of the scope of Pakistan's flooding to take some time, as monsoon rains continue to damage infrastructure and drench swamped villages and important cash crops, such as wheat and cotton.

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