Christian Aid launches appeal for south Asia flood victims

By agency reporter
September 12, 2014

Christian Aid has launched an appeal to help victims of severe floods across four countries in South Asia – India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal – that have so far claimed an estimated 500 lives.

More than 8.5 million people in total have been affected, with some two million of them forced to flee their homes. With the situation worsening by the day, the flooding is expected to be the worst to hit the region for 60 years.

The floods began two weeks ago after heavy monsoon rains and landslides. The worst affected areas are Punjab in Pakistan and Kashmir, on both sides of the Pakistan-India border. With many places inaccessible, getting aid to those who have fled their homes for higher ground is a major challenge.

In Pakistan, where dam breaches have exacerbated the situation, some 1.8 million people have been forced to flee their homes. Two Christian Aid partners, Church World Service and Muslim Hands, aim to reach more than 24,000 people with vital items including cooked food, emergency shelter and medicine. A number of breaches have been deliberately made in the embankments of the Chenab river by Pakistan’s river authorities, to protect larger towns and cities, leading to flooding in villages further down river.

Relief efforts are also underway in India, where many villages have been completely submerged. Some 100,000 people have reached safety during massive rescue operations undertaken by the Government but reports estimate that as many as 300,000 remain stranded The states of Uttar Pradesh and Odisha are also witnessing massive floods which have rendered thousands homeless. Christian Aid is providing support to local civil society organisations for undertaking relief work in different parts of the country.

Money has also been made available to partner organisations in Bangladesh to carry out immediate relief work there, where thousands of people have been made homeless by the seasonal monsoon floods.

Belinda Bennet, Christian Aid’s Head of South Asia, said: “People have no access to food, water, shelter or healthcare and the situation will undoubtedly deteriorate as rains continue and more rivers flood.

“It is currently harvest time in the region but crops ready for reaping have simply been destroyed. The coming winter will create an even more desperate need for shelter as temperatures can drop below zero in some areas.

“Many of the people affected have already borne the brunt of previous disasters such as the Kashmir earthquake in 2005, South Asia floods of 2007 and the Pakistan floods of 2010.

“As ever, it’s the poorest and marginalised communities who are most vulnerable.” she said.

* More about Christian Aid’s South Asia appeal and how to donate here: www.christian-aid.org.uk

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