Islamabad, Pakistan, 4 August 2015 – Focus Humanitarian Assistance (FOCUS) has been providing relief to villages in the Chitral District of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province, Pakistan, which have been affected by devastating floods resulting from monsoon rains and glacial outbursts.
Flash flooding and debris flow have washed away over 100 villages while disrupting access to roads and bridges and causing damage to property, crops, livestock, communication infrastructure and drinking water supply systems. Over 700 trained volunteers from FOCUS Pakistan’s Search and Rescue, Disaster Assessment Response and Community Emergency Response Teams were immediately mobilised to respond to the emergency. The teams have distributed food items and non-food items including tents, blankets, tarpaulin sheets, family hygiene kits and water purification tabs to 600 families in Chitral and Gilgit-Baltistan.
The situation is becoming more critical as a number of valleys and villages in Chitral remain inaccessible and continue to be isolated from each other. Major roads remain cut off including Chitral-Booni Mastuj road, Garamchashma-Chitral road, Chitral-Ayun Bumborate road, Booni-Mulkhow and Kosht road and Chitral-Madaklasht road.
“The immediate need is to clear roads and restore access to villages as supplies in the affected areas will run out and winter will soon set in,” warns Nusrat Nasab, Executive Officer of FOCUS Pakistan. In the meantime, FOCUS Pakistan plans to provide one month’s food supplies to 70% of the most affected communities in Lower and Upper Chitral. Provisions have also been made to store items at the regional level since small local markets are expected to run out of supplies.
Flash floods and unfavorable weather continue to be a major threat to relief efforts making it difficult to airlift people and distribute supplies and medicine. FOCUS Pakistan’s Community Emergency Response Team is working with local communities and with the FOCUS regional office for early warning and timely response.
During its 15 years presence in the country, FOCUS Pakistan has trained over 36,000 local community volunteers as first responders and has set up over 90 stockpiles to effectively respond to disasters. FOCUS Pakistan is working closely with the Pakistan Army, Government authorities and local administration in coordinating immediate relief efforts. Once the near-term threat is controlled, extensive planning and resources will be required for rehabilitation. As part of the Aga Khan Development Network, FOCUS Pakistan is engaged with affiliated institutions including Aga Khan Health Services, Aga Khan Rural Support Programme and Aga Khan Planning and Building Services to alleviate concerns such as health and hygiene issues arising from the aftermath of crises and to plan for longer-term housing and economic rehabilitation.
Focus Humanitarian Assistance (FOCUS) is a crisis response and disaster risk management agency established in Europe, North America and South and Central Asia. It helps vulnerable communities build resilience to natural and man-made disasters and compliments the provision of humanitarian relief principally in the developing world. FOCUS is an affiliate of the Aga Khan Development Network, a group of institutions working to improve opportunities and living conditions, for people of all faiths and origins, in specific regions of the developing world. For further information please visit www.akdn.org/focus
The Aga Khan Development Network is a group of non-denominational development agencies, created by His Highness the Aga Khan, with complementary mandates ranging from health and education to architecture, culture, microfinance, rural development, disaster reduction, the promotion of private-sector enterprise and the revitalisation of historic cities. As a contemporary endeavour of the Ismaili Imamat to realise the social conscience of Islam through institutional action, the AKDN agencies work to improve living conditions and opportunities for the poor, without regard to their faith, origin or gender. Working in the fields of economic, cultural and social development, AKDN aims to provide choices and opportunities to communities so that they can realise and determine their own development. For further information please visit www.akdn.org