With the heavy rainfalls and the ensuing flood in Pakistan, BRAC temporarily halted its microfinance and health operations in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and is focusing on providing emergency relief. Drawing upon years of experience in flood relief work in Bangladesh, a flood-prone country, BRAC Pakistan staff are rapidly and effectively assisting the people of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province.
The shortage of food is acute. BRAC Pakistan has begun to deliver food packets which contain rice, lentils, flour, and water purification tablets. To combat the threat of diarrheal diseases breaking out, BRAC is distributing Oral Rehydration Solution sachets. This is a staple commodity distributed by BRAC's health program in every country where we operate, including Pakistan. Additionally, BRAC will be sending a medical team for assessment of health needs in the affected communities.
Of the houses that are still standing many are under water. BRAC's staff in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa expect the water to recede in 2-3 days, but "this part of Pakistan is not accustomed to floods," said Mr. Aminul Alam, Executive Director of BRAC International. "In Bangladesh, we are used to this so we can prevent casualties there. But here the families and communities we serve are not used to this. We want to help because of BRAC's experience of dealing with floods in Bangladesh over the years."
BRAC Pakistan has been operating in Pakistan since 2007 providing microfinance throughout 94 branches to 106,000 people. Of BRAC's 12 offices in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, 10 are under water. However, BRAC's existing footprint in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and the extensive network of local staff give BRAC a starting point through which relief will be delivered.
"Many families that we serve have seen their houses washed away. Many houses of our staff members were also washed away. But as a BRAC staff member they can be effective in delivering relief to the families and communities that they serve every day," said Mr. Faridhur Rahman, BRAC Pakistan CEO.
"Vehicles cannot go in to flooded areas, and there is a lack of boats in this area. We have no choice but to wade through water and deliver relief supplies on foot where we can, even in flooded areas," said Mr. Rahman.