Hundreds of thousands of people displaced by September monsoon flooding in Pakistan have not yet moved back into their homes, according to aid groups.
Three of Pakistan’s four provinces were hit, affecting over 4.8 million people and damaging over 630,000 houses, according to the latest situation report by the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA).
Three months after the floods, 97 percent of those displaced have returned to their towns and villages. Nearly all of them, however, continue to live in makeshift shelters next to damaged homes.
Aid groups and government officials say they still need critical assistance to help them through the winter.
In the absence of adequate shelter and provisions, aid workers say, the cold weather in flood-hit areas is likely to put the affected population under more stress.
“The temperature is dropping, and that is causing an increase in respiratory problems and other health conditions,” said Stacey Winston, spokesperson in Pakistan for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
This is the third year of severe monsoon flooding, but unlike in previous years, the government did not decree a national emergency when large parts of the country were submerged.
Over 485,620 hectares of cropland were inundated, a significant blow to a country where agriculture is one of the biggest sectors of the economy, employing 45 percent of the labor force. The floods have left almost 860,000 people in need of food aid and more than a million requiring farm inputs.
The UN has already expressed concern that communities that depend on agriculture will miss an entire season because of flood damage in their areas.
Read more of the story here at the IRIN news service:
PAKISTAN: Struggling to provide for flood victims