Over four million flood-hit Pakistanis still homeless: Red Cross

Geneva, Jan 23(ANI): Over four million Pakistanis still remain without adequate shelter six months after falling victims to unprecedented floods, the Red Cross has revealed.

"Six months on from the devastating flooding in Pakistan, more than 4 million people remain in a desperate situation without adequate shelter," the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies said in a press release.

While floodwaters still engulf huge areas of land in the Sindh province, now a secondary wave of displacement is taking place among families who left camps and temporary shelters and returned to find their homes were destroyed or uninhabitable.The cruelty of this disaster is that millions of people were driven from their homes by the floods. They have endured miserable conditions, living for months under canvas or tarpaulins. Now they are returning home to almost nothing. Their houses, their fields and their livelihoods are ruined," said Gocha Guchashvili, flood operations coordinator with the IFRC in Pakistan.

The floods destroyed 1.7 million homes, damaged 5.4 million acres of arable land and left entire communities without any source of food or income. In north Pakistan, families are living through sub-zero conditions in the remnants of their homes, and villagers are left with no option but to walk for many miles to seek help as many roads remain blocked or damaged.

"We are distributing winterized shelter kits to 70,000 people in this region, to help protect families from the freezing temperatures. In many cases, we can only transport the materials as far as the roads will allow - after that, people have to carry them on their backs over the mountains for many hours," says Andrea Lorenzetti, IFRC shelter coordinator.

Apart from providing emergency relief to over two million people, the Red Cross Red Crescent is also carrying out early recovery programmes to support the returning population, providing seeds, agricultural tools, health care and shelter kits, but the sheer scope of the devastation demands a large scale response from the international community.

"The attention of the world has moved on and much more will be needed to help people get back on their feet. Food security remains a major concern and support from the international community is vital. Without it, the survivors of this crisis will slide further into poverty," Guchashvili said. (ANI)

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