The flood-waters that caused Pakistan's worst disaster ever may be subsiding, but the humanitarian emergency is far from over. More than 1,700 people have died. More than 20 million have been affected by the floods, and many of them are living without the most basic of needs, such as clean water, food, shelter and basic hygiene. Diarrhea is spreading in flood-affected areas, and there is a serious potential for malnutrition and malaria outbreaks. Around eight million children and half a million pregnant women are especially at risk.
The flooding began on July twenty second and crested in late August, leaving in its wake unprecedented devastation. "The scale and the scope of this natural disaster [are] astronomical," said US Agency for International Development, or USAID, Administrator Dr. Rajiv Shah.
The international community has responded to Pakistan's call for help, but the scope of the disaster is so great that still more help is needed now, and will be in the future. The United Nations expects it will take over a billion dollars in donations from member countries to help Pakistan and its people to get back on their feet.
Thus far, the United States has committed approximately $268 million for flood recovery and relief efforts in Pakistan, in addition to considerable in-kind and technical assistance, valued at approximately $47 million dollars, specifically to address the impact of the flood. To date, U.S. military aircraft, working in close partnership with the Government of Pakistan, have rescued over 13,000 people and delivered more than 5 million pounds of relief supplies to those in need.
At the same time, USAID has provided 13 mobile water treatment units, each delivering enough water to supply 60 thousand people per day; a dozen mass water storage units, and tens of thousands of individual ones; scores of inflatable rescue boats and concrete saws; and hundreds of thousands of blankets. And thanks to the generosity of individual U.S. donors, USAID will soon begin delivery of water filtration cloths, purification tablets and buckets, to 40,000 Pakistani families.
"We will remain committed to helping Pakistan," said President Barack Obama in a message to Pakistan on the sixty third anniversary of its independence. "And will work side by side with you and the international community toward a recovery that brings back the dynamic vitality of your nation."