Floods in Pakistan: Handicap International Intensifies Its Emergency Relief Efforts

For Immediate Release

Handicap International
Contact: 

Lea Radick +1 (301) 891-3002
lradick@handicap-international.us

Floods in Pakistan: Handicap International Intensifies Its Emergency Relief Efforts

WASHINGTON - Handicap
International has been providing relief to the victims of the flooding
in Pakistan for almost a week. The water
distribution
and clearance activities set up by the organization immediately after
the start
of the floods are continuing. The distribution of hygiene kits is also
gradually being expanded. According to the United Nations, almost 14
million
people are expected to be affected by the flooding, the worst the
country has seen
since 1929.

The situation in
Pakistan has
seriously deteriorated over the last week, with heavy
rainfall worsening the flooding in the northwest and south of the
country. The
Pakistani government has recognized that it is facing a natural disaster
on a
far greater scale than the 2005 earthquake. The U.N. Office for the
Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) estimates the number of
victims at
around 14 million in the provinces of Baluchistan, Khyber Paktunkhwa,
Sind and
Punjab. Thus far, the disaster has claimed more than 1,500 lives and
destroyed
more than 290,000 homes.

"During a natural disaster like the one currently affecting Pakistan,
you're faced with an ongoing emergency," explained Stéphane
Lobjois, head of mission for Handicap International in Pakistan. "For
the
last 13 days we have experienced a highly critical situation in which
the
population's suffering has shown no signs of abating and the situation
is
not improving."

On August 2, Handicap International decided to release $131,800 in general funds to ensure a swift
response to the
natural disaster.

Handicap International's Emergency Response Department acted very
quickly
to organize the distribution of clean drinking water, a key
factor in
preventing the spread of disease, in particular cholera. Drinking water is still being distributed in the
area.
Handicap International is also helping people access water by repairing
water
supply systems (pumps) destroyed by the flooding. The organization has
also
begun distributing 7,000 kits, enabling families to purify and store
water,
and to wash and cook.

A
clearance project
has also begun in the districts of Hangu, Swat and Kohat. Handicap
International is involving local people in clearing away the waste and
debris
swept along by the floods and removing stagnant water from towns,
enabling the
population to return to the area and limiting the spread of disease.
This
project should soon be extended to other areas.

Present in the country since the 2005 earthquake, Handicap International
runs
several projects in Pakistan and has launched two large-scale emergency
operations in the past, most recently in 2009 when 3 million people fled
fighting in the Swat Valley. Therefore, the organization was already
present in
the regions affected by the flooding. Handicap International currently
has a
team of around 150 people on the ground.

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Handicap International works to improve the living conditions of people living in disabling situations in post-conflict or low-income countries around the world. Our programs reduce and address the consequences of disabling accidents and disease; clear landmines and prevent mine related accidents through education; respond fast and effectively to natural and civil disasters in order to limit serious and permanent injuries and assist survivors with social and economic reintegration; and advocate for the universal recognition of the rights of the disabled through national planning and advocacy.

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