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March 22, 2023

FOCUS USA and AKAH Partnering to Respond to Devastating Flooding in Pakistan

In response to the flooding emergency in Pakistan, FOCUS’s partner AKAH,P has provided evacuation and shelter support, technical coordination services, and emergency relief supplies with funding support from Focus Humanitarian Assistance.

Extreme temperatures in early July 2022 led to glacial melting, high river and stream levels, and flash flooding throughout Pakistan, intensified by heavy monsoon rains. The Aga Khan Agency for Habitat in Pakistan (AKAH,P) was quick to establish emergency operations centers in Gilgit (Gilgit-Baltistan), Karachi (Sindh), Chitral (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa), and Islamabad to coordinate aid and emergency response volunteers.

For decades, Focus Humanitarian Assistance and AKAH,P have been well-positioned to respond to such disasters with extensive investments in the capacity building of emergency specialists and volunteers including Community Emergency Response Teams (CERTs), Search and Rescue Teams (SARTs), and Disaster Assessment and Response Teams (DARTs).

CERTs in Gilgit-Baltistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa were mobilized early and safely evacuated more than 8,000 people before floods and landslides reached their villages.  The debris flowing down the mountainsides caused severe damage to homes, businesses, cattle sheds, agricultural lands, and trees as well as destroying vital access roads and bridges.  Many are being housed by host families. AKAH,P has provided water, emergency shelter, blankets and essential non-food items as well as arranged for food to families whose homes were completely or severely damaged. CERTs are continuing to work with local communities to evacuate people at-risk of landslides and to distribute additional relief items from the stockpiles.

Using the AKDN helicopter, AKAH,P carried out several deliveries of food and medicine to the remotest villages of Upper and Lower Chitral in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in collaboration with Pakistani Army helicopter units who also supported in the rescue and evacuation of stranded families.

For instance, the mountain village of Sherqilla in Ghizer Valley of Gilgit-Baltistan was one of the worst hit areas. Severe storms triggered flash floods and massive landslides affecting over 250 families in the village. Sadly, seven people lost their lives and two were injured. The debris flowing down the mountainsides caused severe damage to homes, businesses, cattle sheds, agricultural lands, and trees as well as destroying vital access roads and bridges.

In the south of the country, torrential rains caused flooding and widespread damage.  The AKAH,P regional office in Karachi prepositioned water pumps at strategic locations and disseminated weather alerts to local communities. CERTs and local volunteers were instrumental in pumping water out of flooded residential and community areas and coordinated relief efforts, working with city municipalities.

Pakistan’s National Disaster Management Authority has said that floods this summer have killed more than a thousand people and nearly a million homes have been damaged since mid-June. More than 33 million people – one in seven people – have been affected by flooding with more than 50,000 rescued and close to 500,000 now living in relief camps. Many more displaced are believed to be living with relatives, friends, or in makeshift shelters.

FOCUS’s funding assistance to AKAH has been instrumental in such humanitarian efforts.

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