Torrential rains and glacial lake outbursts since mid-June have triggered devastating floods and landslides across Pakistan. This catastrophic event has now affected 33 million people, including nearly 1,400 lives lost.
At its peak, flood waters submerged approximately one-third of the country, washed away crops, and destroyed or damaged more than 1.7 million homes, critical infrastructure, and thousands of miles of roads that had previously connected towns and cities. To support communities affected by the floods, USAID and its partners immediately jumped into action.
Here are three ways USAID is responding to flooding in Pakistan:
1. Deploying a USAID Disaster Assistance Response Team
On September 2, USAID deployed an elite Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) to lead and coordinate the U.S. government’s response to flooding in Pakistan. Shortly after arriving in country, members of USAID’s DART joined personnel from Pakistan’s National Disaster Management Authority to conduct aerial and ground assessments of flood damage and identify priority humanitarian needs. The DART continues to work closely with Pakistani disaster response officials, UN partners, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and USAID disaster staff in Washington D.C. and Bangkok, Thailand to ensure lifesaving assistance is making it to people who need it most.
2. Enabling Partners to Provide Critical Relief Commodities
Hunger is on the rise in many affected areas as flooding has both wiped out crops and killed hundreds of thousands of livestock — a vital source of food and income for many families. To respond, USAID is supporting the UN World Food Program (WFP) to distribute food — such as wheat, yellow split peas, vegetable oil, and iodized salt — and $4 million in cash transfers for food to approximately 386,000 people countrywide, as well as supplies to treat and prevent malnutrition.
To counter the growing risk of disease outbreaks in communities where flooding has damaged water and sanitation systems, USAID partner Concern Worldwide is providing safe drinking water, hygiene items, and water removal services for 283,000 people. Concern is also providing shelter repair kits, tools, kitchen sets, and plastic sheeting to help people whose houses have been damaged or destroyed. In addition, the flood-affected families are receiving multi-purpose cash assistance to give them the maximum degree of choice, flexibility, and dignity to buy what they need to cover basic needs.
3. Working With U.S. Government Partners to Transport Relief Supplies
The recent flooding and landslides washed out many of the roads, railway tracks, and bridges used to transport goods between Pakistan’s four provinces. To get relief commodities into the hands of people in and around Sindh Province — one of the areas worst affected by flooding — USAID requested the unique capabilities of the U.S. Department of Defense to create an air bridge to transport critical relief supplies to areas of need.
On September 9, U.S. Central Command (USCENTCOM) began airlifting lifesaving humanitarian supplies from USAID’s Dubai warehouse to Pakistan. Upon arrival in Pakistan, these supplies — including tarps, tools, plastic sheeting, and kitchen sets — will be distributed by USAID humanitarian partners to affected families who have either been displaced or are seeking to repair their homes.
How You Can Help
We’ve shown some of the ways we are responding to flooding in Pakistan, but there are things you can do, as well. When disaster strikes, providing cash donations to aid groups on the ground is the most effective way to lend a helping hand. The Center for International Disaster Information offers information on how you can donate to some of the organizations working on the front lines of this response.