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The epic flood disaster in Pakistan has destroyed the homes and livelihoods of millions of people, putting an enormous full-length section of the country the size of California (much of it vital farmland) underwater. AmeriCares, building on a strong humanitarian aid presence in the country since 1990, is already committing over $2 million in emergency medical aid to key health care providers on the ground and more shipments are being assembled.
With its long-term partnerships in Pakistan, AmeriCares was able to have its first shipment of critical medicines available in Peshawar on August 7, 2010, just a few days after the first reports of flooding. The shipment included medicines and supplies to help people suffering from serious infections, pain, fever and injuries.
While the death toll from flooding is small (less than 2000) in comparison to the numbers who perished in the Pakistan earthquake of 2005 (over 70,000), the unimaginable scale of the population affected by the Pakistan flooding (nearly 20 million) establishes an unfolding humanitarian crisis that demands a massive response from the international community.
“A flood disaster represents a very different humanitarian relief challenge than other natural disasters such as earthquakes, said Christoph Gorder, AmeriCares SVP of Global Programs. “We expect to be in the disaster relief phase for four months or more before we can turn our attention to rebuilding. And with the unique challenges and scale of this flooding, we see our historic commitment to Pakistan as part of a very long process of rebuilding a health care infrastructure, already weakened in this region, that now has suffered massive damage. “
As people go without access to clean drinking water and basic health services, deadly cholera and other diarrheal diseases can spread quickly. Other major health issues facing the massive displaced population include acute respiratory infection and skin infections that arise from overcrowded unsanitary conditions and dirty water. AmeriCares continues to prepare and ship more medical supplies to address these immediate health concerns and keep health care providers in the affected regions fully supplied.
Since 1990, AmeriCares has delivered nearly $57 million in assistance to Pakistan including relief supplies ranging from medicines, medical supplies, equipment, health care facilities and nutritional support.