People's Stories Wellbeing

Immediate global action required to prevent Famine in the Horn of Africa
by UN News, IPC, OCHA, UNICEF, agencies
22 Dec. 2022
The number of children suffering dire drought conditions across Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia has more than doubled in five months, according to UNICEF.
Around 20.2 million children are now facing the threat of severe hunger, thirst and disease, compared to 10 million in July, as climate change, conflict, global inflation and grain shortages devastate the region.
“While collective efforts have mitigated some of the worst impact of what had been feared, children in the Horn of Africa are still facing the most severe drought in more than two generations,” said UNICEF Deputy Regional Director for Eastern and Southern Africa Lieke van de Wiel.
"Humanitarian assistance must be continued to save the lives of the staggering number of children and families who are being pushed to the edge – dying from hunger and disease and being displaced in search of food, water and pasture for their livestock.”
Nearly two million children across Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia are currently estimated to require urgent treatment for severe acute malnutrition, the deadliest form of hunger.
Across Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia water insecurity has more than doubled with close to 24 million people now confronting dire water shortages. 
“As governments and people across the world prepare to welcome a New Year, we urge the international community to commit to responding to the urgent needs of children in the Horn of Africa,” says Lieke van de Wiel. “We need a global effort to mobilize resources urgently to reduce further devastating and irreversible damage to children in the Horn of Africa. We must act now to save children’s lives and protect their futures.”
Nov. 2022
Immediate global action required to prevent Famine in the Horn of Africa - (UN, Humanitarian agencies)
Global solidarity is urgently needed to help vulnerable communities in the Horn of Africa survive a rapidly unfolding humanitarian catastrophe, driven by the longest and most severe drought in recent history that is expected to continue well into 2023.
Humanitarian and development actors must urgently prepare for the continuation of life-saving assistance in response to extremely high humanitarian needs through to next year. The Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia drought response plans are only 50 percent funded despite escalating needs, severely limiting humanitarian agencies’ capacities to respond. More funds are required immediately to save lives before it is too late.
Already, 20.9 million people are highly food insecure (IPC Phase 3+) due to the two-year drought, including 3.4 million people in Emergency (IPC Phase 4) in Kenya and Somalia and 300,560 people in Catastrophe (IPC Phase 5) in Somalia. In southern Ethiopia, IPC compatible analyses show widespread Emergency (IPC Phase 4) area classifications and indicate that there are likely households in Catastrophe (IPC Phase 5). In Somalia, parts of Bay region are projected to face Famine (IPC Phase 5) while several other central and southern areas face a Risk of Famine by the end of the year.
Significant increases in severe acute malnutrition admissions to nutrition treatment programmes have been observed across the region. Overall, 7.46 million children under the age of five are estimated to face acute malnutrition, including 1.85 million facing its severe form.
Over 23 million people face daily household water insecurity. The drought impacts on health risks are also significant, and multiple ongoing disease outbreaks, including measles and cholera, for which health outcomes are worse when combined with malnutrition, are major public health concerns.
There is a urgent need for global support and solidarity to avert a Famine (IPC Phase 5) in the months ahead. During the 2011 drought, 260,000 people died in Somalia, with the majority of deaths occurring before a Famine (IPC Phase 5) was declared. The world should not allow a repeat of what occurred in 2011.
Given rising death rates in many areas, the size of the affected population, and the likely duration of the crisis, the cumulative levels of excess mortality could become as high as in 2011. We cannot and must not wait for a Famine (IPC Phase 5) to be declared, or for additional rainy seasons to fail, to act.
Oct. 2022
UNICEF warns of unprecedented numbers of child deaths in Somalia
UNICEF Spokesperson, James Elder: “Today in Somalia, every single minute of every single day, a child is admitted to a health facility for treatment of severe acute malnutrition. The latest admission rates from August show 44,000 children admitted with severe acute malnutrition. That is a child per minute.
"A child whose mother has walked for days to get her child to help. A child whose body is fighting to survive. A child whose life hangs in the balance.
"Severely malnourished children are up to 11 times more likely to die of diarrhoea and measles than well-nourished children. With rates such as these, Somalia is on the brink of a tragedy at a scale not seen in decades.
"And, of course, the children behind this staggering, appalling statistic are those who actually make it to a treatment centre. In a country where access to the most vulnerable is continually hampered by terrorism and threats to aid workers, we fear many thousands more children are not reaching the support they need.
"When people speak of the crisis facing Somalia today, it has become common for frightful comparisons to be made with the famine of 2011 when 260,000 people died. However, everything I am hearing on the ground – from nutritionists to pastoralists – is that things today actually look worse.
"In 2011, after three failed rains, the affected population was half of what it is now, and the overall conditions – rain and harvest - were on the mend. Today: it’s been four failed rains; the forecast for the fifth rains is looking pretty grim, and the affected population is twice the size of 2011. Things are bad and every sign indicates that they are going to get worse. "Without greater action and investment, we are facing the death of children on a scale not seen in half a century.”
"We have half a million children that are severely acutely malnourished, which means that if they don't receive timely assistane they are just simply going to die," says Wafaa Saeed, the UNICEF representative for Somalia.
The UN has raised only half the funds it needs to help, with more needed to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe, she says.
13 Sep. 2022
Catastrophic hunger levels leave 500,000 children at risk of dying in Somalia. (UN News)
Catastrophic hunger levels in Somalia have left more than 513,000 children at risk of dying, 173,000 more than during the 2011 famine, UN humanitarians warned on Tuesday.
In a call for immediate funding to help vulnerable communities hit by successive droughts, high food prices and conflict, the UN Children’s Fund UNICEF, the World Food Programme (WFP) and Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) stressed that the emergency shows no signs of letting up.
Without action, famine “will occur within the next few weeks”, FAO said. The UN agency added that drought-related deaths “have been occurring” and the toll could be much higher in hard-to-reach rural areas, compared with the number recorded in camps for displaced families.
A ‘nightmare’ not seen this century
During the famine of 2011, 340,000 children required treatment for severe acute malnutrition, UNICEF spokesperson James Elder told journalists in Geneva. “Today it’s 513,000,” he added. “It’s a pending nightmare we have not seen this century.”
Some 6.7 million people across Somalia will likely endure high levels of acute food insecurity between October and December this year (IPC Phase 3 or above). This includes more than 300,000 who are expected to fall into famine (IPC Phase 5).
Livestock dropping dead
In pastoral communities where herders have been desperately searching for pasture, “they are now watching their livestock drop dead like flies”, said Etienne Peterschmitt, FAO Representative in Somalia. The perilous situation of those forced from their homes by hunger in Baidoa town of Bay region in Southern Somalia, is particularly concerning, Mr. Peterschmitt added.
“The repeated warnings have been clear: act now or a famine will occur within the next few weeks,” he insisted. “The drought situation is spreading at an alarming rate; more districts and regions are facing emergency levels of food insecurity as the cumulative effects of multiple failed rainy seasons take their toll.”
In a call for radical change to stop famine happening again, UNICEF’s Mr. Elder described the disturbing scenes already playing out in Somalia’s worst-affected region.
“Children are already dying,” he said. “Our partners report that some stabilization centres are in fact full and critically-ill children are receiving treatment on the floor.”
With greater funding, more severe and acutely malnourished children can be given lifesaving food which will make them strong enough to ward off diseases.
“This is not just about nutrition, severely malnourished children are in fact up to 11 times more likely to die from things like diarrhoea and measles than well-nourished boys and girls,” Mr. Elder said, adding that both diseases “are spiking” in the worst-hit areas.
In June, UNICEF reported that 386,000 children aged six to 59 months needed treatment for severe acute malnutrition. “That’s increased (today) to more than half a million, to 513,000; that’s a 33 per cent increase. Said one more way, it means 127,000 more children are at risk of death,” Mr. Elder said.
5 Sep. 2022
Window of opportunity to prevent famine in Somalia is closing, Principals of Inter-Agency Standing Committee warn.
Somalia has reached a tipping point. The lives of hundreds of thousands of people are at immediate risk, according to the latest food security and nutrition analysis. Famine is unfolding in two areas in the Bay region (Baidoa and Burhakaba districts) in South-Central Somalia, and will likely last until March 2023 if humanitarian aid is not significantly and immediately scaled up.
Millions more face extreme levels of acute hunger. Women, particularly pregnant and lactating women, and children under the age of five are among the most vulnerable. They require urgent assistance to avert a worst-case scenario.
Starvation and death are likely already occurring. During the 2011 famine, about 50 per cent of the more than 250,000 people who died, did so before the official declaration. At least half were children.
In total, across the Horn of Africa, 20.5 million people are facing a dire and entirely avoidable hunger crisis. This is unacceptable.
Famine declarations should not be the only trigger for meaningful action. Local authorities, governments, UN agencies and NGOs have been issuing clear warnings of catastrophic hunger levels for more than a year. These alerts have been largely overlooked and, despite global commitments to anticipating crises, funds for these life-saving activities have not reached the scale needed.
A rapid scale-up of humanitarian assistance since early 2022 has undoubtedly saved many lives. However, the resources available are quickly being outpaced by the explosion in needs.
We urge all actors to facilitate immediate and safe access for humanitarian operations.
We appeal to donors to provide immediate, flexible funding to enable humanitarian agencies on the ground, particularly local and international NGOs, to rapidly scale up and prevent more deaths, protect livelihoods and avert a deepening catastrophe. Getting aid to rural communities before they are forced to abandon their homes in search of food is critical.
Together, we have averted famine before. We can and must do so again. In a world of staggering wealth, it is unacceptable that people are dying of hunger. We must take action now.
* Sep. 2022
Somalia: Famine (IPC Phase 5) is expected in parts of Bay Region unless humanitarian assistance urgently reaches people most in need. (IPC)
Based on integrated food security, nutrition and mortality surveys conducted in June and July 2022 and subsequent IPC analysis, agropastoral populations in Baidoa and Burhakaba districts and displaced populations in Baidoa town of Bay Region in Somalia are projected to face Famine (IPC Phase 5) between October and December 2022 in the absence of significant humanitarian assistance reaching people most in need:
Aug. 2022
Children suffering dire drought across parts of Africa are ‘one disease away from catastrophe’, by Catherine Russell - UNICEF Executive Director
Children in the Horn of Africa and the Sahel could die in devastating numbers unless urgent support is provided, as severe malnutrition and the risk of water-borne disease collide – UNICEF warns during World Water Week.
“History shows that when high levels of severe acute malnutrition in children combine with deadly outbreaks of diseases like cholera or diarrhoea, child mortality rises dramatically – and tragically. When water either isn’t available or is unsafe, the risks to children multiply exponentially,” said UNICEF Executive Director Catherine Russell. “Across the Horn of Africa and the Sahel, millions of children are just one disease away from catastrophe.”
The number of drought-hit people in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia without reliable access to safe water rose from 9.5 million in February to 16.2 million in July, putting children and their families in increased danger of contracting illnesses like cholera and diarrhoea1.
In Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Niger and Nigeria, drought, conflict and insecurity are driving water insecurity, with 40 million children facing high to extremely high levels of water vulnerability. Already more children die as a result of unsafe water and sanitation in the Sahel than in any other part of the world, according to the latest WHO data.
Most people in the Horn of Africa rely on water delivered by vendors on trucks or donkey carts. In areas worst hit by drought, water is no longer affordable for many families.
In Kenya, 23 counties have seen significant price hikes topped by Mandera at 400 per cent and Garissa by 260 per cent compared to January 2021.
In Ethiopia, the cost of water in June this year has doubled in Oromia and increased by 50 per cent in Somali compared to the onset of the drought in October 2021.
In Somalia, average water prices climbed 85 per cent in South-Mudug, and 55 and 75 per cent respectively in Buurhakaba and Ceel Berde, compared to prices in January 2022.
More than 2.8 million children across both regions are already suffering from severe acute malnutrition, which means they are up to 11 times more at risk of dying from water-borne diseases than well-nourished children.
In Somalia, outbreaks of acute watery diarrhoea and cholera have been reported in almost all drought-affected districts. Almost two-thirds of those affected are children under the age of five.
Between June 2021 and June 2022, UNICEF and partners treated more than 1.2 million cases of diarrhoea in children under the age of five in the worst drought-hit regions of Ethiopia – Afar, Somalia, SNNP and Oromia.
In Kenya, over 90 per cent of open water sources – such as ponds and open wells - in drought-affected areas are either depleted or dried up, posing serious risk of disease outbreak.
Across the Sahel, water availability has also dropped by more than 40 per cent in the last 20 years due to climate change and complex factors such as conflict, putting millions of children and families at increased risk of waterborne diseases. Just last year, West and Central Africa marked the region's worst cholera outbreak in the last six years, including 5,610 cases and 170 deaths in Central Sahel.
UNICEF’s appeal to improve families’ long-term resilience in the Horn of Africa region – and stop drought devastating lives for years to come – is currently just 3 per cent funded. Of that, almost no money has been received for the section devoted to water, sanitation and climate resilience. The appeal for the Central Sahel region to meet the needs of vulnerable children and families with water, sanitation, and hygiene programmes is only 22 per cent funded.
“Imagine having to choose between buying bread or buying water for a hungry, thirsty child who is already sick, or between watching your child suffer from extreme thirst or letting them drink contaminated water that can cause killer diseases,” said Russell.
“Families across drought-impacted regions are being forced into impossible choices. The only way to stop this crisis is for governments, donors, and the international community to step up funding to meet children’s most acute needs, and provide long-term flexible support to break the cycle of crisis.”
UNICEF is providing life-saving aid and services to children and their families in dire need across the Horn of Africa and the Sahel, including improving access to climate-resilient water, sanitation and hygiene services, drilling for reliable sources of groundwater and developing the use of solar systems, identifying and treating children with malnutrition, and scaling up prevention services.

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Pakistan declares national emergency as floods wreak havoc
by IFRC, OCHA, Reliefweb
8 Jan. 2023
Pakistan flood response is still “an emergency”. (MSF)
More than six months since floods began devastating Pakistan, people’s basic needs in the worst affected areas are not being met. The lack of adequate food, water and healthcare for devastated communities is resulting in high levels of malaria and malnutrition.
Sindh, Pakistan - Staff from Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) are seeing alarmingly high numbers of people with malaria and children with malnutrition among flood-affected communities in Sindh and eastern Balochistan provinces, Pakistan.
Catastrophic flooding began in the country in June, and the situation remains an emergency, with critical humanitarian needs. The current response is inadequate. People’s basic needs, including access to essential food assistance, healthcare and safe drinking water, in the worst flood-affected areas remain unmet.
“While the focus is shifting towards recovery and reconstruction, a scaled-up humanitarian response to meet people’s immediate needs is absent,” says Edward Taylor, MSF’s emergency coordinator in northern Sindh and eastern Balochistan. “Humanitarian organisations and government agencies involved in the response must not forget that the situation remains critical.”
“We are months into this response and our teams in Sindh and eastern Balochistan still see people living in tents and makeshift shelters,” says Taylor. “In these winter months, people are becoming more vulnerable.”
In Sindh and eastern Balochistan, MSF teams are seeing high numbers of people needing treatment for malaria. Despite the colder season, when malaria rates would be expected to decline, we continued to see malaria rates of 50 per cent during December in people screened in our mobile medical clinics. Our teams have treated more than 42,000 patients for the disease since October.
In addition, the floods have destroyed extensive areas of crops and livestock, which represent the main source of livelihood for many communities. In northern Sindh and eastern Balochistan, our teams are already seeing alarming numbers of acute malnutrition. Since the start of our activities in these regions, we have screened a total of 28,313 children for malnutrition in our mobile medical clinics. Of those screened, 23 per cent (6,489) had severe acute malnutrition and 31 per cent (8,738) had moderate acute malnutrition, together comprising more than half of the children who arrived at our clinics.
MSF emergency teams are running mobile clinics and malaria teams that visit more than 50 locations per week in the Dadu, Jacobabad, and Shahadat Kot districts of Sindh and Jaffarabad, Naseerabad, Sohbatpur, Jhal Magsi, and Usta Mohammed districts in eastern Balochistan.
Those returning to their villages are finding destroyed houses and land, still surrounded by stagnant water. The devastating loss of homes and belongings impacts people’s mental health, as well as their livelihoods.
Meanwhile, those remaining in camps and informal shelters are faced with the encroaching threat of winter.
“In the areas where we are working, water has yet to recede, and the emergency medical and humanitarian needs remain high,” says Taylor. “People urgently need access to food assistance, safe drinking water, healthcare and shelter. We are still very much in an emergency phase.”
In Sindh and eastern Balochistan, many people whose villages are now accessible found that water sources are still contaminated and they must get drinking water from far away. Crops and food stores have been destroyed, livestock have died, and fields will not be ready for the next planting season, increasing the risk of further food insecurity.
“Ensuring adequate food, water, sanitation, healthcare and shelter must be a priority for the international and national response to the catastrophic flooding in Pakistan,” says Taylor. “Many people in affected areas have immediate, urgent needs that cannot wait.”
Nov. 2022
Over 27 million children at risk as devastating floods set records across the world. (Unicef)
As COP27 gets underway in Egypt, UNICEF warns this year has brought overwhelming flooding to at least 27.7 million children in 27 countries worldwide.
A large majority of the 27.7 million children affected by flooding in 2022 are among the most vulnerable and are at high risk of a multitude of threats including death by drowning, disease outbreaks, malnutrition, lack of safe drinking water.
“We are seeing unprecedented levels of flooding all around the world this year, and with it, an explosion in threats to children,” said Paloma Escudero, head of the UNICEF delegation for COP27. “The climate crisis is here. In many places, the flooding is the worst it has been in a generation, or several. Our children are already suffering at a scale their parents never did.”
The aftermath of floods is often more deadly for children than the extreme weather events that caused the flooding. In 2022, floods have contributed to the increased spread of major killers of children, such as malnutrition, malaria, cholera and diarrhea:
In Pakistan, more than 1 in 9 children under five admitted to health facilities in flood-affected areas of Sindh and Balochistan were found to be suffering from severe acute malnutrition. In Chad, 465,030 hectares of farmland were destroyed, worsening the already dire food insecurity situation.
In Malawi, torrential rains and flooding by tropical storm Ana in January 2022 caused extensive damage to water and sanitation systems, which created the perfect conditions for a cholera outbreak. The outbreak has claimed the lives of 203 people, out of which 28 are children. To date, 1,631 children have been infected with cholera.
Together with other climate shocks and conflict, floods have caused the projected number of children in South Sudan facing high levels of food insecurity to surpass the rates seen during the conflict in 2013 and 2016.
Additionally, the United Nations recently warned that some communities are likely to face starvation if humanitarian assistance is not sustained and climate adaptation measures are not scaled-up.
In addition to threatening the lives of millions of children, the flood waters have disrupted essential services and displaced countless families:
The recent floods in Pakistan damaged or destroyed nearly 27,000 school buildings, forcing 2 million children to miss school. In South Sudan, 95 UNICEF supported nutrition sites have been affected by floods, hampering the delivery of life-saving and preventative malnutrition services for 92,000 children.
An estimated 840,000 children were displaced by floods in Nigeria in recent months. 126 schools in Cameroon were affected by floods, depriving 38,813 children from access to education. Heavy rains and flooding in Yemen triggered floods causing extensive damage to shelters in displacement sites. Up to 73,854 households were affected, and 24,000 households were displaced.
“COP27 is an opportunity to chart a credible roadmap with clear milestones for finance for climate adaptation and solutions for loss and damage,” said Paloma Escudero. “Young people from the most affected places on Earth are drowning in climate inaction. Enough is enough. Lives are on the line – children need action now..”
17 Oct. 2022 (WFP)
Above-average rainfall and devastating flooding across West and Central Africa has affected five million people in 19 countries across the region, claiming hundreds of lives, upending livelihoods, displacing tens of thousands from their homes and decimating over a million hectares of cropland - in a region already in the grips of an unprecedented hunger crisis. This climate-related disaster is one of the deadliest the region has seen in years and is likely to deepen the already worrisome hunger situation for millions.
The floods hit West Africa as world leaders prepare to meet on the climate crisis at COP27 in Egypt and highlight the urgent need to help communities on the frontlines of the climate crisis adapt, expand solutions that address loss and damage incurred during climate-related disasters, and invest in climate action in fragile contexts.
"Families in West Africa have already been pushed to the limit in the wake of conflict, the socio-economic fallout from the pandemic, and skyrocketing food prices. These floods act as a misery multiplier and are the final straw for communities already struggling to keep their heads above water," said Chris Nikoi, the UN World Food Programme (WFP)'s Regional Director for Western Africa.
"WFP is on the ground helping flood-hit families get back on their feet by providing an immediate response package, while also helping to build community resilience to future shocks and pave a pathway out of this catastrophic situation," Nikoi added.
The short-term meteorological forecasts indicate above average seasonal rainfall across the Western Africa region (except southern coastal areas), with a risk of flooding affecting people and further driving up humanitarian needs. A confluence of calamities already left 43 million people facing crisis and emergency (IPC/CH phases 3+4) levels of food insecurity during the June-August lean season.
In response, WFP is on the ground providing a three-month emergency assistance package targeting 427,000 flood-hit women, men and children in critically affected countries including the Central African Republic, Chad, the Gambia, Nigeria, Sao Tome & Principe, and Sierra Leone. WFP also provides post-flood response mainly targeting smallholder farmers whose crops have been destroyed.
WFP's emergency food assistance is provided in the form of food and cash disbursements helping affected families meet their basic food and nutrition needs at a time when food prices are skyrocketing, already pushing basic meals out of reach for vulnerable families.
In many countries across the region, food prices are still on the rise compared to the 5-year average. Maize prices, for example, rose by 106%, 78%, 42% respectively in Ghana, Niger and Nigeria. In Burkina Faso, sorghum prices increased by 85%. In Mauritania, wheat is up by 49%, while in Sierra Leone, imported rice is up by a staggering 87%. The spiralling food, fuel and fertilizer prices not only aggravate the hunger crisis but also foment socio-economic tensions -- as governments struggle to respond to the crisis due to heavy debt burdens and limited fiscal space.
Oct. 2022
West Africa hard-hit by climate crisis as deadly floods decimate lives and livelihoods.
ACAPS: Nigeria; Floods resulting from heavy rainfall since August have affected at least 3 million people countrywide, displaced 1.3 million people, injured 2,400 and killed 600. The floods are reportedly the worst since 2012. 33 out of 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory have been affected. Around 200,000 houses have been partially or completely damaged and 637,000 hectares of cropland has been destroyed (WFP), which may well worsen food insecurity. Anambra, Delta, Cross River, Rivers, and Bayelsa states face the risk of further flooding until November, and people living in low-lying areas at risk of flooding need to be evacuated to higher ground.
There is a risk of spread of waterborne disease due to contamination of water sources, particularly cholera, which is endemic in Nigeria. 31 states have reported suspected cases of cholera in 2022, with large increases in suspected cases reported from July-September. Temporary shelters, food, WASH assistance and medical supplies are needed for flood response.
Oct. 2022
Pakistan declares national emergency as floods wreak havoc
The United Nations has increased its aid appeal for Pakistan, where more than five million people are facing a severe food crisis in the wake of recent catastrophic floods.
Some 1,700 people, including more than 600 children, lost their lives and a total 33 million people were affected after record-breaking rains.
Julien Harneis, the UN’s humanitarian coordinator for the country, said that the world body was seeking $816m for flood-relief efforts, up from its initial appeal for $160m in August, when heavy rains and floods swept through much of Pakistan.
“We are now entering a second wave of death and destruction. There will be an increase in child morbidity, and it will be terrible unless we act rapidly to support the government in increasing the provision of health, nutrition and water and sanitation services across the affected areas,” Harneis told reporters.
The Pakistani government and UN have both repeatedly blamed climate change for the floods and sought debt relief as one means to support the country.
In its latest report, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said 8.62 million people in 28 assessed districts were estimated to be in crisis and enduring the emergency phases of food security between September and November 2022, “including some 5.74 million people in flood-affected districts covered by the assessment”.
The OCHA report also noted that “water-borne and vector-borne diseases” are of “growing concern”, particularly in the hard-hit provinces of Sindh and Balochistan.
It added that close to 1.6 million women of reproductive age, including nearly 130,000 pregnant women, need urgent health services.
8 Sep. 2022
WFP Pakistan Situation Report, 6 September 2022: In Numbers
33 million people affected by floods and flash floods in 81 districts. At least 1,343 people have died, and 12,720 have been injured since 14 June 2022. 1.69 million houses, 17,566 schools, and 6,579 km of roads have been destroyed or damaged. An estimated 6.4 million people require immediate assistance.
Situation Update
Since mid-June 2022, flooding induced by heavy monsoon rainfall has caused casualties and infrastructure damage. 33 million people are affected in 81 districts of Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Balochistan, Gilgit Baltistan, KP, Punjab and Sindh, according to the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), as of 6 September. Of these, an estimated 6.4 million people require immediate assistance.
Large areas of land remain inundated in Balochistan and Sindh provinces, where flood waters are not likely to recede quickly. Securing land access remains a major challenge.
637,000 people have been displaced and are residing in relief camps due to floods, 86 percent of whom are in Sindh Province.
At least 1,343 people have died and 12,720 have been injured since 14 June, while reported livestock losses amount to 751,145. Cumulatively, over 1.69 million houses have been fully destroyed or partially damaged.
The floods have damaged or destroyed 5,735 km of roads and 246 bridges.
Waterborne diseases are spreading amongst people displaced by floods; over 90,000 diarrhea cases were reported in Sindh.
The Government of Pakistan is leading the response: The NDMA is coordinating assessments and directing humanitarian relief for flood-affected people. This includes provision of food, shelter, medical supplies and other essentials.
7 Sep. 2022
As the true impact of the flooding in Pakistan becomes clear, thousands are left stranded without food and a health crisis looms on the horizon. (DEC)
Families in Pakistan are being left stranded and hungry as access to food and medical supplies are blocked by the rising flood waters, risking a health catastrophe.
Many communities have no choice but to live in stagnant waters, cut off from access to vital services, at risk of deadly water borne diseases including cholera and malaria.
One man, Roaan Ali said: “We rushed here at 2 am when the floods came. Now we’re stranded: there’s no path to get out. We’re helpless and in desperate need of food. We have nothing. No hut to sleep in, no tent, nothing to eat. All our houses, our cattle, our wheat, are drowned and underwater.”
Medical care is in short supply with 432 facilities destroyed and 1,028 partially damaged, and access to essential medicines limited.
Over the past week as rainfall has worsened the flooding, the number of people injured has risen from 1,500 to over 12,700 and the number of homes damaged or destroyed from 1m to 1.6m.
The number of people affected (33m, or 1 in 7 Pakistanis) has already far overtaken the floods in 2010 (22m), according to Save the Children. Then 78 districts were flooded, compared with over 110 today.
Last week the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) in the UK launched an urgent appeal to raise funds to help those in desperate need of assistance with one third of the country underwater.
Aid is getting through via the DEC’s 11 member agencies on the ground but distribution is hampered by the huge levels of floodwater, with residents in some areas reporting them as deep as 8 feet.
The DEC has heard reports of families in Sindh province, one of the worst affected areas, escaping their homes onto higher ground but then unable to reach aid on the roadside because of the huge water levels in front of them.
Samama Muhammad, from Sindh province said: "The floods came in the middle of the night. We only had time to save ourselves. We are empty-handed, sitting under the sky. No help has reached us here: any help that comes is taken by the people at the roadside. We can’t reach the help that is at the roadside."
During the flooding, food stocks and supplies were swept away, over 3.6 million acres and over three quarters of a million livestock lost, leaving people in need of food support in the immediate and longer term. Sindh province produces half the country’s food supply, raising concerns of serious shortages.
The UN estimates that nearly three quarters of affected households lack the resources to buy food.
DEC Chief Executive Saleh Saeed said: “This is a disaster on a catastrophic scale, this level of immense flooding has not been seen before and seems to be getting worse, with further heavy rainfall on its way.
“Families are fighting for survival in near impossible conditions out in the open and need food and emergency supplies. Just imagine what it would be like to suddenly have everything washed away in an instant.
“11 of our member charities are on the ground and already responding with local partners. Please donate to help them deliver emergency aid and to reach more people who are in a dire situation and in great need of assistance.
DEC members have also warned of a looming health crisis as millions lack access to basic sanitation and clean drinking water. The World Health Organization (WHO) has classified the situation as a grade 3 emergency - the highest level in its grading system.
Agencies including Save the Children, International Rescue Committee and the Red Cross are establishing medical camps and mobile health clinics, providing clean drinking water, working to prevent the spread of water borne diseases and distributing hygiene kits.
Dr Fatima Amin, Head of Health and Nutrition at Action Against Hunger in Pakistan, said: “The combination of communities surrounded by large areas of contaminated water, damage to clean water supplies and sanitation systems, and hot, humid weather threatens a massive secondary public health emergency. It is young children, in particular, who are most at risk from deadly waterborne diseases, including cholera and vector-borne diseases such as malaria and dengue fever.
“The burden of malnourishment is also increasing due to decreased access to nutritious food. As a consequence, we are seeing a growing number of children accessing our stabilisation centres. These are centres that provide lifesaving support for the treatment and prevention of malnutrition.”
Broadcast appeals for donations to the Pakistan Floods Appeal were made by Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai and by broadcaster Adil Ray:
“The scale of devastation is both shocking and unprecedented; over a third of the country is under water. More than 33 million people have been affected. Many people have lost everything and urgently need lifesaving aid. Donations will help charities on the ground providing immediate relief, from food and shelter to clean water and medical assistance. I urge the public to help – please donate if you can. Any amount will help families in desperate need.”
27 Aug. 2022
Extreme flooding in Pakistan - Over 1,000 people have died and more than 1,500 people have been injured as heavy rains cause widespread destruction. The monsoon floods have displaced over 3.1 million people.
The humanitarian situation in Pakistan has deteriorated over the past two weeks as heavy rains continue to cause widespread flooding, and landslides resulting in displacement and damage across the country. Sixty-six districts have been officially declared to be ‘calamity hit’ by the Government of Pakistan – 31 in Balochistan, 23 in Sindh, nine in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and three in Punjab. The situation remains dynamic, and many more districts have been affected; the number of calamity-declared districts is expected to rise as rains continue to fall.
The adverse weather conditions have incurred significant human and livestock casualties and widespread damage to private homes and public infrastructure, especially in Balochistan and Sindh provinces. The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) reports some 33 million people in Pakistan being affected.
Over 900,000 houses have been destroyed or damaged since 14 June, according to NDMA. Livelihoods are also being heavily impacted – more than 793,900 livestock – a critical source of sustenance and livelihoods for many families – have died, of which some 63 per cent are in Balochistan and 25 per cent in Punjab. Around 2 million acres of crops and orchards have also been impacted.
Damage to infrastructure has further worsened the humanitarian situation, as partial or complete destruction of over 3,000 km of roads and 145 bridges impedes the ability of people to flee to safer areas or to travel to access markets, healthcare, or other vital services, and restricts the delivery of aid to people in need.
Provisional data from provincial Education Departments show that at least 17,566 schools have been damaged or destroyed due to the emergency: 15,842 schools in Sindh, 544 in Balochistan and 1,180 in Punjab.
Large parts of the country remain submerged – particularly the provinces of Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Sindh in the south – as heavy rains continue to lash parts of the country. Near incessant rainfall is compounding flash flooding and rain-induced landslides.
The government has declared the devastating floods a “national emergency” and is seeking aid from friendly countries.
Aid workers have appealed for urgent donations to fight the “absolutely devastating” impact of flooding in Pakistan, as satellite images confirm that a third of the country is now underwater.
“We’re seeing complete devastation – hundreds of thousands of collapsed houses, more than a thousand people injured. It is clear that this is a massive humanitarian and climate emergency,” said Khuram Gondal, Save the Children’s country director.
Chairman of Pakistan Red Crescent, Abrar ul Haq said: “The situation is worsening by the day. These torrential floods have severely restricted transportation and mobility. The threat of COVID-19 and damage to vehicles, infrastructure and connectivity are further making our emergency relief works almost impossible. Most of those affected are also immobile or marooned making us hard to reach them.
“Pakistan Red Crescent is currently providing relief assistance in 23 of the most affected districts. We have also started mobilizing help from International Committee of the Red Cross, partner National Societies and local and international donors to support in relief and recovery activities. We have also deployed more 500 staff and volunteers to flood-affected districts.
“We fear the worst is yet to come as these kinds of waters could mean the risk of water-borne diseases are looming over the heads of our people."
The current rain spell and floods has impacted the already thousands of vulnerable and deprived communities, where many are yet to recover from the effects of COVID-19. They are now in an even worse situation after these floods. Compounding effects from the pandemic are making it difficult for humanitarian organisations to immediately address and respond to the needs of those affected.
The IFRC Head of Delegation in Pakistan, Peter Ophoff said:
“The International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent is assisting the Pakistan Red Crescent in its response to the worst floods in a decade which have destroyed homes, crops, livelihoods and infrastructure and leaving millions vulnerable.
“Pakistan is experiencing abnormal monsoon rainfall nearly ten times higher than usual, resulting in uncontrollable urban and flash floods, landslides, across the country. Gaining a full picture of the scale of the disaster is difficult as many affected areas remain inaccessible due to inundated and damaged road networks.
Maryam Imtiaz of Care Pakistan said it was clear the emergency was “not under control”. “The situation on the ground is absolutely devastating … We need as much help as we can get”.
Aid workers are battling immense logistical challenges to get to millions of people in need, particularly in south-eastern Sindh province where the water level remains high. Even in areas where the water has slightly receded, aid distribution is complicated by damaged roads, cut power lines and blocked railways.
“It means aid agencies are struggling – it’s a challenge to get aid from A to B,” said Waseem Ahmad, CEO of Islamic Relief Worldwide. “And also the commodities that are available for relief agencies and people are going down [in quantity].”
Speaking from the north-western Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, Ahmad said he had been in the country for the 2010 floods, which killed nearly 2,000 people, but this was worse.
“The situation … is absolutely chaos everywhere. People are on the roadside, waiting for humanitarian assistance, like water, food, shelter, and this is unprecedented in the history of Pakistan. In 22 years of my experience as a humanitarian aid worker, I never saw such destruction caused by floods.”
In a country already suffering high levels of poverty and malnutrition, the massive destruction of crops and livestock is a particular worry, and one it is feared will mean “a very harsh winter” for millions.
Jennifer Ankrom-Khan, country director for Action Against Hunger, said the flood damage had come on top of the economic impact of the Covid pandemic and the spike in food prices caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“We were already seeing huge inflation in food prices, and now we have these floods which have affected all of the crops that have been grown during the season.” She added: “So this is not just going to impact right now, but in the longer term.”
* ACAPS brief on floods (31/8)
An estimated 5.9 million people in some of the most flood-affected provinces (Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and Sindh) are projected to face Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or Emergency (IPC Phase 4) food security conditions between July-November 2022 (WFP 26/07/2022). Flood damage to crops is contributing to increased food prices and food insecurity (IRC 29/08/2022). The number of food-insecure people is expected to increase to 7.2 million between December 2022 and March 2023, partially because of higher food prices (WFP 26/07/2022). The price of staple foods, including wheat and rice, is increasing because of floods affecting large farmlands:

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