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As South Asia Floods Recede, Urgent Aid Still Needed
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Eric Porterfield
 
August 10, 2007

A woman and child brave the flood water to seek shelter with the rest of their friends and family in Qubo Sayeed Khan, Pakistan.
A woman and child brave the flood water to seek shelter with the rest of their friends and family in Qubo Sayeed Khan, Pakistan.
(Photo credit: Stacey Winston/IFRC)
As flood waters swept through villages in southern Pakistan, families were forced to flee their homes, taking only what they could carry. In the district of Qubo Sayeed Khan, one of the worst hit areas, approximately 35,000 people evacuated to a nearby road. With flood water surrounding them on both sides of the eight mile stretch of concrete, they had nowhere to go.

An International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies' Field Assessment and Coordination Team (FACT) immediately took action to assess the damage and help meet the urgent needs of the families. Red Cross and Red Crescent workers requested relief to provide shelter from the blazing sun, drinking water to prevent dehydration, and food to stave off hunger.

"It's disheartening to see so many people who have lost so much," says Travis Betz, FACT member from the American Red Cross, Greater New York Chapter. "We were able to determine what people needed and get help to families."

From Pakistan to China and across much of South Asia, Red Cross and Red Crescent workers are helping families survive.

The American Red Cross has provided more than $200,000 to support the emergency relief and recovery efforts in Pakistan and Bangladesh. In addition, the American Red Cross deployed one international and two local disaster workers to southern Pakistan.

FACT members, Travis Betz and Tina Sarikoski, listen to local townspeople to determine what they need to survive the floods.
FACT members, Travis Betz and Tina Sarikoski, listen to local townspeople to determine what they need to survive the floods.
(Photo credit: Mark Werdmuller/IFRC)

In Bangladesh, where about half of the country is flooded, Red Cross and Red Crescent workers are providing clothing and food, including rice, lentils, cooking oil and salt to families. Working around the clock, local and international volunteers will distribute food aid and household items in the coming days and weeks.

The Pakistan Red Crescent Society is distributing food parcels and essential household items, such as kitchen sets, blankets and hygiene kits, and offering critical medical care to thousands of patients.

Following disasters, people are often susceptible to diseases due to the crowded and unhygienic living conditions. Despite challenges caused by the flooding, the American Red Cross and its partners in the Measles Initiative moved ahead with a measles vaccination campaign that will eventually reach more than 63 million children in Pakistan. According to preliminary results, more than 1 million children (over 95% of the target population) were vaccinated during this phase of the campaign.

"The Red Cross will be there to help people rebuild their lives," says Alex Mahoney, Regional Manager of Asia and the Middle East for International Disaster Response at the American Red Cross. "As the water recedes, we are watching the situation closely to see what more we can do for people affected by this flooding."

You can help those affected by countless crises around the world each year by making a financial gift to the American Red Cross International Response Fund, which will provide immediate relief and long-term support through supplies, technical assistance and other support to help those in need. Call 1-800-RED CROSS or 1-800-257-7575 (Spanish). Contributions to the International Response Fund may be sent to your local American Red Cross chapter or to the American Red Cross International Response Fund, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013. Internet users can make a secure online contribution by visiting www.redcross.org. The American Red Cross honors donor intent. If you wish to designate your donation to a specific disaster please do so at the time of your donation.


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