x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

UAE foundation highlights plight of Pakistan's 'forgotten' flood victims

The founder of the Dubai philanthropic organisation, Rabbani Foundation, cautions after returning from disaster-hit Pakistan that nearly 5 million flood victims have been forgotten.

Local Pakistani residents push a vehicle through a flooded street following heavy monsoon rain in Quetta on September 13, 2011. Pakistan called on the world to speed up relief efforts after torrential rains exacerbated major floods, killing 270 people and making another 200,000 homeless in the south of the country.
Local Pakistani residents push a vehicle through a flooded street following heavy monsoon rain in Quetta on September 13, 2011. Pakistan called on the world to speed up relief efforts after torrential rains exacerbated major floods, killing 270 people and making another 200,000 homeless in the south of the country.

DUBAI // The plight of almost 5 million people affected by devastating floods in Pakistan is being ignored, says a relief worker who recently returned from disaster-hit areas.

More than 400 people died and thousands were left homeless in the Sindh and Balochistan provinces after heavy flooding last month.

The philanthropist Mobisher Rabbani, a Pakistani expatriate who founded the Rabbani Foundation in Dubai, visited the area last week to distribute supplies to those in need.

"We distributed milk, biscuits and other supplies to about 1,000 families in the two regions," Mr Rabbani said. "Apart from the army there wasn't much evidence of these people being given the help they need."

The work was carried out alongside Mankind Welfare Trust UK.

"The work's emphasis was on the affected children, the weakest segment," Mr Rabbani said.

He plans to return during Eid to distribute more aid.

In its latest update, the UN children's fund Unicef said 4.9 million people were affected last month.

"In some rural areas floodwater has receded or is receding, leaving behind ruined crops, homes and infrastructure, and a water and sanitation crisis," said Unicef.

"In other rural areas, up to two to three metres of water remains across vast areas, preventing families from returning.

"In both cases, mosquitoes are breeding and biting, and malaria is a major health concern.

"Rescue and relief work done by government and local charities is winding down, partly due to funds being used up and partly due to camps being closed."

Many women, children and elderly people have been forced into roadside tents or makeshift shelters.

The philanthropic organisation says there is dire need for food, clean water, sanitation, education, shelter and health care, especially in treatment and prevention of malaria and diarrhoea.

It says it has provided more than 178,000 people with clean drinking water each day, family hygiene packages have been provided for 60,452 people, and 26,256 children have been vaccinated against measles.

nhanif@thenational.ae