Pakistan: Cyclone Phet destroys 45 villages

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Half a million people have been affected by Cyclone Phet in the coastal areas of Sindh and Balochistan, Pakistan. At least 45 villages have been destroyed. Most residents have lost everything. Both rural and major urban areas were affected.

ACT Alliance member Church World Service Pakistan/Afghanistan is working with partners to provide clothing, blankets and food and other necessities.

Experiencing the worst damage was Balochistan, particularly Gwadar district, which has 600km of coastline. Destruction began late Friday and worsened as the cyclone made landfall on Sunday. Some areas, including Gwadar city, remain accessible only by air or sea. Due to flood damage to most houses, residents have started moving to safer areas, including camps.

About 5000 families from four union councils in Balochistan have moved to various evacuation centers. Another 25,000 need shelter, food and water pumps in their neighbourhoods. Access to safe drinking water, food and shelter is extremely limited. The Pakistan Air Force has started delivering limited relief, but in many areas assistance has yet to start. Families are expected to remain in evacuation centers for up to two months.

Contaminated flood waters pose health hazards to the affected population. In many areas standing water will become a breeding ground for contagious diseases. As well as urgently-needed food, drinking water and shelter – which are people also need blankets, clothes, hygiene kits, malaria medication and protection from water-bourne diseases.