One year after the worst monsoon floods in 80 years, vulnerable populations in Pakistan are still struggling to rebuild their lives and recover from the effects of the disaster. The European Union continues to support the worst-affected populations with generous humanitarian aid. More than 20 million people were affected by the floods, over 1 900 people died and an estimated 12.5 million required urgent humanitarian assistance.
In 2010, the European Commission helped those in the direst need with €150 million in humanitarian assistance. A further €76 million has been committed to cover continuing acute needs in the affected areas such as shelter, water and sanitation, food, livelihood recovery and healthcare.
Floods in Pakistan : one year later
The situation in 2010
Severe floods devastated vast swathes of Pakistan in July 2010, taking lives and causing massive destruction. The EU immediately mobilised emergency assistance, providing the displaced with basic necessities such as drinking water and medical care. The European Civil Protection Mechanism was activated, the total EU humanitarian contribution being €437 million (€150 million from ECHO and €287 million from Member States including almost €12 million of in kind assistance). Assistance was channelled through the UN, the Red Cross Family and international NGOs and was coordinated with the Pakistani authorities.
The huge scale of the disaster requires long-term support and the Commission's priority now is to ensure an efficient transition from relief to reconstruction.
From the end of July, continuous and heavy Monsoon rains in Pakistan caused the most severe floods in the country since 1929. 1 752 people died, 2 701 were injured and more than 1.8 million dwellings were damaged or destroyed. According to UN there were 12 million people in need of humanitarian assistance in the country. Floods destroyed crops, livelihoods, government facilities, roads, bridges, and other types of infrastructure in vast areas of Pakistan. The victims were also threatened by very serious epidemics as water and vector-borne diseases (diarrhoea/cholera and malaria/dengue fever) were on the increase.
The EU response
The European Union, both Commission and Member States, reacted quickly and generously. The Commission approved a first €30 million allocation on 30 July, when it was clear that the gravity of the monsoon became clear. An additional €10 million was approved on 11 August as an emergency measure. On 18 August, another €30 million was announced, increasing the Commission's relief effort to €70 million.
The Commission deployed experts to the area to evaluate the needs on the ground and to ensure that the funding was well used and reaching the victims of the floods. On 5 August, the European Civil Protection Mechanism was activated. Many Member States offered in-kind assistance. A European Civil Protection team to coordinate this assistance was deployed in Islamabad and reinforced on 19 August. Currently the European Commission's Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection Department (ECHO) has 10 humanitarian experts in the country.
In addition to the in-kind support provided to the Government of Pakistan via the European Civil Protection Mechanism, Member States have provided direct assistance through the UN system, the Red Cross Family and International NGOs. By the end of 2010, the European humanitarian response to the Pakistani floods – Commission and Member States combined – had reached €240 million.
Commissioner Georgieva visited Pakistan from 23 to 27 of August to convey the EU's solidarity with the people and authorities of Pakistan, and requested that humanitarian workers have full access to those in need. The Commissioner also assessed the ongoing international humanitarian response with both partners in Islamabad and in the field. During her time in Pakistan, Commissioner Georgieva published a summary of her impressions from the country which can be read on her blog.