Pakistan: Switzerland responds to needs of populations affected by flooding

Bern, 15.09.2022 - Pakistan is experiencing one of the worst disasters in its history. Almost a third of the country has been left under water by a monsoon of unprecedented proportions. The Pakistani authorities have launched an appeal for international aid in light of the scale of the needs. Switzerland has responded with a CHF 3 million contribution in support of emergency relief measures. It has also deployed a Swiss Humanitarian Aid Unit team.

While Pakistan is gradually recovering from the floods, large swathes of the country remain under water. More than 33 million people have been affected by this disaster, which has claimed the lives of over 1,300 people. The flooding has destroyed homes and infrastructure across the country. Lost crops and flooded fields pose a serious threat to food security. There is also a high risk of the spread of waterborne diseases.

The Pakistani authorities began organising rescue operations as soon as the waters began to rise. Faced with the scale of the disaster, they launched an appeal for international aid. Switzerland responded immediately by deploying a Swiss Humanitarian Aid Unit (SHA) team. The SHA team is currently in the north-western province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, where it is repairing schools to enable over 900 children to return to their classrooms. The team is also restoring water supply systems to provide over 5,000 people with access to drinking water and erecting temporary footbridges to allow residents to get across rivers. The SHA team is supported by the Swiss embassy in Islamabad, which has been very active from the outset of the relief operation.

The SDC has allocated CHF 3 million to meet needs on the ground. CHF 2 million has been earmarked to support the activities undertaken by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in response to an emergency appeal by the UN. The IOM is operating in the southern provinces of Pakistan, which have been hit particularly hard by the disaster. In addition, the SDC will contribute CHF 200,000 to the Swiss NGO Helvetas, which is carrying out projects to distribute drinking water, food and medicines, as well as essential supplies in the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The remainder will be used to fund the SDC's emergency response to be implemented by SHA personnel.

Pakistan was for decades one of the SDC's priority countries. The SDC ended its activities there in 2020. This long-term presence enabled the SHA teams to rapidly re-establish contacts with its partners on the ground to respond to this latest disaster. It should be noted that all the schools rebuilt by the SDC in the wake of the 2010 floods have emerged from this disaster still standing and in good condition.

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