Catholic Relief Services staff in northern Pakistan are unhurt, but cut off from homes or the CRS office due to massive flooding. Rains that began late Tuesday have turned parts of a major road, the Karakoram Highway, into a raging river.
“Staff from our office in Besham had to go sleep in a house on higher ground at night instead of their normal guesthouse,” says Carolyn Fanelli, Head of Programming and Acting Country Representative for CRS Pakistan. The flood washed away an important bridge in the town, cutting the CRS office off from the market. “We have our head of office on one side of a bridge, and the office on the other.”
“Local people say they have never seen this much water in this stream in the last 50 to 60 years,” says Husnain Abdullah of CRS Besham. “At the moment, the office and staff house are some distance from this worst of the flood and look safe.” Though cut off from the market, stranded CRS staffers were able to buy rice, milk, and beans to eat for the next few days.
CRS teams will go out to destroyed areas as early as tomorrow, July 31. “Our staff is ready,” says Nasrullah Khan, head of office for CRS Besham. “People whose houses were swept away are living with relatives but need aid.”
CRS Pakistan is already responding with emergency humanitarian aid to last week’s floods in Kohlu and Barkhan, organizing shipments of jerry cans, water purification tablets, soap, cookware and more to hundreds of families whose homes were washed away. “We’ll send aid as quickly as possible to Shangla and Kohistan, too,” says Fanelli. “These floods are devastating and a lot of people are going to need help.”
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