Mobile health clinics are educating communities on the prevention of waterborne disease. Photo: CWSA

Pakistan is consistently ranked among the 10 countries most vulnerable to the effect of global climate change. A heavier than usual monsoon season and glacier melt following a severe heat wave have created devastating flood conditions in much of the country. According to the United Nations, “the global climate crisis has contributed to these terrible floods and caused unprecedented human suffering in Pakistan.”

By September 2022, almost three times the amount of rain normally received in a year had fallen in Pakistan and as much as one-third of the country was under water.

An estimated 33 million people have been affected, with 6.4 million requiring urgent humanitarian assistance. At least 1.8 million homes and over 17,000 schools have been damaged or destroyed.

One Meal a Day

“We mostly eat one meal a day. The meal consists of some flour we cook together with chopped onions, chiles and rarely tomatoes. We cook it all together because do not have enough firewood or fuel, so we cannot waste it on cooking separately,” shared Tejan, a widow and mother of 11, who is currently sharing her home with multiple families.

PWS&D’s partner in Pakistan, Community World Service Asia, is implementing an emergency food assistance project for affected communities in the Khairpur district of Sindh province. This project is receiving supporting from Canadian Foodgrains Bank and its members, as well as matching funds from the Government of Canada.

Monthly cash assistance will be provided to 5,700 families for four months to help them meet their food needs. Cash transfers are an effective way of addressing hunger—allowing people to make their own decisions about food for their families that is nutritionally and culturally appropriate, while also supporting local markets.

Luqman, a grade six student, has not been able to leave his home or attend school because of the floods. Photo: CWSA

No One to Play With

Thirteen-year-old Luqman hasn’t been able to go to school since July. The grade six student attended his neighbourhood school and was proud of his academic achievements, but the school has been closed for months.

Missing school and his friends, Luqman is frustrated in his house, which is surrounded by up to 10 feet of contaminated water. His mother and grandmother do not allow him to wander too far from home due to a growing number of snakes and the high probability of skin infections caused by the contaminated water. This is the same water the family must use for cooking and bathing.

To help address issues related to water and sanitation, as well as essential services such as medical clinics, PWS&D is providing additional support to Community World Service Asia through the ACT Alliance.

To mitigate the risk of communicable and waterborne diseases, improved access to sufficient and clean water for drinking, cooking and personal hygiene is being provided in high-risk communities. Culturally appropriate, secure gender-appropriate toilets and washing facilities will also be provided.