ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN—With the most severe flooding on record in over 80 years, northern Pakistan is reeling from a natural disaster of significant scale and scope. As estimates of the dead and displaced rise steadily since the flooding began—and with more monsoon rains on the way—the global humanitarian organization Action Against Hunger | ACF International is rushing to assess where best to deploy its emergency water and sanitation programs to help stem the outbreak of disease and water-borne illnesses.
Current estimates indicate that more than 1,500 lives have been lost to the floodwaters, hundreds of thousands remain stranded, and between two and three million people have been forced to flee their homes and are in need of emergency assistance. ACF’s teams are rushing to assess where needs are most critical, but the scale of the crisis, the chaos of the displacement and dislocation, the impending monsoons, and the destruction of vital infrastructure make communication and coordination all the more difficult.
“The overwhelming concern, beyond rescuing survivors, is to keep diseases like cholera at bay by ensuring access to clean water and basic hygiene,” explains Nick Radin, ACF’s Water, Sanitation & Hygiene Advisor for Pakistan. “The needs are urgent, but unfortunately this disaster extends over a massive geographical area, which complicates relief efforts. It’s a race against time to reach the thousands needing immediate help.”