02 August 2010, Dhaka. With the heavy rainfalls and the ensuing flood in Pakistan, BRAC has temporarily halted its normal operations in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (formerly the North-West Frontier Province) and is focusing on providing relief work. BRAC seeks to bring to the people of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa our years of experience in flood relief work in Bangladesh, a flood-prone country.
Reuters/Adrees Latif, courtesy www.alertnet.org
“We want to cover 4,000 families,” says BRAC Pakistan CEO Mr. Faridhur Rahman, referring to the number of families to whom BRAC aims to deliver food such as rice, lentils, and flour in the next four days. The shortage of food is acute.
To combat the threat of diarrheal diseases breaking out, BRAC will also be distributing Oral Rehydration Salts (ORS). This is a staple commodity distributed by BRAC’s health program in every country where we operate, including Pakistan. Additionally, BRAC will be sending a medical team for assessment of health needs there.
Of the houses that are still standing many are under water. BRAC’s staff in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa expect the water to recede in 2-3 days, but “this part of Pakistan is not accustomed to floods,” says Mr. Anisur Rahman, BRAC Pakistan’s Microfinance Program Manager. “In Bangladesh, we are used to this so we can prevent casualties there. But here the families and communities we serve are not used to this. We want to help because of BRAC’s experience of dealing with floods in Bangladesh over the years.”
BRAC Pakistan has been operating in Pakistan since 2007. Of BRAC’s 12 offices in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, 9 are under water and 3 are of limited use. However, BRAC’s existing infrastructure in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa in the form of branch offices and the extensive network of local staff give BRAC a starting point through which relief will be delivered.
“Many families that we serve have seen their houses washed away. Many houses of our staff members were also washed away. But as a BRAC staff member they can be effective in delivering relief to the families and communities that they serve every day,” Mr. Rahman says.
“Vehicles cannot go in to flooded areas, and there is a lack of boats in this area. We have no choice but to wade through water and deliver relief supplies on foot where we can, even in flooded areas.”
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