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Pakistan: Severe Floods Affect 400,000 in the Northwest

MSF is assessing the needs of hundreds of thousands of people affected by heavy rainfall in north-western Pakistan.

Heavy rainfall in north-western Pakistan has directly affected 400,000 people and caused widespread destruction to homes and infrastructure. MSF is currently assessing the situation in order to tailor its response to this emergency.

MSF is carrying out exploratory missions in Swat, Lower Dir, Malakand, and Peshawar districts in order to assess the damage and the needs of the affected populations. An exploratory mission in the town of Bakthirabad, in Baluchistan’s Sibi district, has been completed; a team will return on this coming Sunday to distribute hygiene kits, plastic sheeting, and ready-to-use food items.

“There is widespread destruction on the ground, and we still need to get a clearer picture of where MSF is needed the most,” says Benoit De Gryse, MSF’s head of mission in Pakistan. “What complicates matters is that destruction is patchy, and there are pockets of people that are very hard to reach due to the flooding.”

MSF’s project in the town of Timurgara, Lower Dir, is currently inaccessible, as all bridges providing access to the area have been destroyed. MSF is continuing its activities in Timurgara and received and treated 10 trauma cases in the MSF-supported emergency room in the town hospital. MSF is currently focusing on providing safe drinking water to the hospital.

MSF is also erecting three temporary cholera treatment centers in the Swat, Lower Dir and Malakand districts. MSF’s cholera treatment center in the Hangu district is continuing its activities as well.

“These are the worst floods in these areas for generations,” says De Gryse. “A lot of houses are built out of mud, which makes them more vulnerable to damage. Many people are unable to reach health structures due to areas being cut off by the water. For those who have been affected, it is of vital importance to attend to immediate basic needs such as sanitation and hygiene.”