Flooding in Pakistan: CRS Field Assessment


Residents make their way through a flooded street after heavy rain in Lahore, Pakistan. REUTERS/Mohsin Raza

Gul Wali Khan, CRS Pakistan emergency director, described the devastation caused by flooding in Balochistan in a telephone conversation with Caroline Brennan, CRS South Asia regional information officer:

Balochistan is very scattered, the population is very scattered. CRS is part of the joint-assessment mission, which includes Oxfam, Save the Children, CWS and Concern Worldwide. We have two teams making assessments in different areas.

Yesterday we visited two union councils, which are basically a cluster of villages. You have a government division of a district and a subdistrict, and within the subdistrict, you have a union council.

In our visit with the two union councils from yesterday, the situation was such that hundreds of houses were underwater …It’s just a rubble of mud. Mud houses made with mud bricks; a variety of houses like that. A majority of them are mud houses with roofing of wood and then straw on the top, and plaster with mud. So when the water comes in, it just sits. The people did not have much time to take their stuff. The human loss was not as much. The assets are totally destroyed.

In some of the villages where we went yesterday, there was a lot of smell. There was a lot of livestock just buried under that mud. This particularly is dangerous because of how it could lead to a cholera outbreak. Water sources have been destroyed in these areas, so people are forced to get their water from the nearby river.

We talked to the men and women. There were already skin diseases among the children and women — gastro-infections and skin diseases. People have lost their food stocks in their homes. In many cases they have started living on their land or in local schools or community buildings.

In the Sinvuk village of the Gokdan union council, 200 households were completely destroyed. People have lost their assets; there are certain houses that are no longer there. You cannot see a single sign of these houses.

[Another type of devastation has taken place] in some villages where they have some dates from trees. The dates were just about ready for harvest, but people are taking this as food as well. Dates are the main cash crop for a majority of these communities, and they have lost that potential income due to the moisture and the humid environment. Dates can not absorb humidity well.

We went to two villages called Tala bazaar and Balochi bazaar (bazaar means village); both are in the Nazarabad union council. There or 500 or 600 families; all of the houses are just in the mud…It gave us the picture of an earthquake where all of the houses become rubble, when you couldn’t find a standing house; I get the same feeling where all the houses are underground. They are just demolished. People would tell us there were houses here, and you could not see a single sign of that house.

Some of the community members are living under an open sky, under the shade of trees. Again, there are many clouds and the rains have started. So the people who are in the open are completely exposed to the rain. And now we are expecting the monsoon to start, so I am afraid of more flooding coming in; the catchment area for the dam has already been filled. People were talking about skin disease, fever, diarrhea, rashes, scabies.

Tents are not a good solution – the weather is too hot. In the daytime, it’s close to 49 C. For the last seven days … this happened on the 26 of June … since that day , there has been no electricity in the area, no power. Even in Turbat city, there is no electricity yet.

Water is the biggest need for these communities, particularly those that are most heavily affected. Food is the greatest need in areas where people didn’t take their food stock with them. Shelter, food, water, health and hygiene are the prioritized needs for these communities.

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