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newsPakistan: the EU humanitarian response to the monsoon flooding

Following the worst monsoon floods in living memory, Pakistan is facing a humanitarian disaster on a massive and unimaginable scale. In response, Kristalina Georgieva, the European Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response, flew to Islamabad to meet with the authorities and to visit  for herself some of the stricken areas.

The effects of this natural disaster have been compounded by the ongoing conflict in Pakistan as military operations continue to displace people. Many people have been impacted twice, first by the conflict and then by the floods, thereby drastically increasing their vulnerability.

EU funding is already being used on the ground to provide emergency shelter to millions of people who have been displaced and whose homes have been damaged or destroyed. It is also helping to provide food assistance, access to health services and water and sanitation facilities.

Shelter: Following the evacuation and migration of the flood affected populations, demand for emergency shelters such as tents, have intensified rapidly, and these needs cannot be met from local stocks. Assessments are ongoing to establish how much will be required.

Food assistance: Crops and food stocks have been destroyed by the floods  and as a consequence the UN and relief agencies estimate that around six million people will need food assistance over the next three months.

Access to health services: In some locations, health facilities and medicines stocks have been damaged or destroyed by the floods. Flood-related health problems are on the rise; with reports of increased incidence of watery diarrhoea, scabies (skin diseases), acute respiratory tract infections, malaria, dengue fever, and cholera. Cholera and diarrhoea centres are being established.

Water and sanitation facilities: Floods have contaminated and damaged water sources (springs and tube wells), depriving the population of clean drinking water, and these need to be repaired as a matter of urgency.

The funding provided by the EU will cover all these needs, as well as providing non-food items (blankets, hygiene sets, etc), psychological support, emergency communication, livelihood support and protection.

The EU Civil Protection Response

The EU Civil Protection Mechanism was activated responding to Pakistan's request for assistance from the international community. The Monitoring and Information Centre (MIC) within ECHO is in contact with the 31 countries participating in the European Civil Protection Mechanism.

Many participating states have offered in-kind assistance supported through the Mechanism. Items such as water purification tablets, emergency health kits, hygiene kits, tents, mats, water tanks, water cans, generators and other relief items have been provided and more is arriving.

The total European Union response to the crisis totals over €200 million to date, with further pledges in the pipeline.

For more information contact—European Law Monitor-Europe Direct at

REF: ELM 23rd August 2010