“Once again, the monsoon rains have led to millions of people being affected by floods in the provinces of Punjab, Sindh and Baluchistan. Hundreds of thousands have lost everything they own and are in desperate need of emergency relief. Many of them are women and children. They are in an extremely vulnerable position and need extra protection,” Minister of International Development Heikki Eidsvoll Holmås said.
Following the floods in September, the Pakistani authorities have handed out food rations, water, tents and blankets. At the same time, UN organisations such as the World Food Programme (WFP) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) are distributing emergency relief supplies from their existing stocks. Humanitarian organisations are providing assistance in districts where they already have a presence on the ground.
“In addition to the emergency relief efforts at the national level, there is a need for international assistance. Unusually severe floods have become the norm in Pakistan. For this reason it is also important to raise awareness of how flooding can better be prevented, both among the authorities and the population as a whole,” said Mr Holmås.
In response to the acute humanitarian crisis, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has allocated NOK 20 million to Pakistan’s flood victims. This assistance will be channelled through UNICEF and Norwegian Church Aid, and it comes in addition to the ordinary allocation for 2012 of NOK 50 million to humanitarian crises in Pakistan. In June, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs allocated an additional NOK 18 million in assistance to the internally displaced in the country’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.
“It is important that Norway is able to provide emergency relief in response to the floods, which are affecting almost five million people. Those who are hardest hit, some 350 000 people, have lost their homes and everything they own,” Mr Holmås said.