Deadly floods hit northwest Pakistan UN aid agencies say

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported today that nine people are also missing in the wake of the rains originating from the Karamar Mountains in the Swabi and Mardi districts of the North West Frontier Province (NWFP). In Swabi, up to 80,000 people have been affected by the rains, with local officials declaring a state of emergency in some towns. The floods have submerged cultivated land, with maize, rice, sugarcane and tobacco crops having been destroyed. Further, livestock has also been washed away and drowned, OCHA said. Farmers in the region typically store six months of wheat in their homes, but those rations have been swept away by flooding. A UN team is currently on the ground to assess flood-assessed areas, warning of a potential food shortage. Medicine, drinking water and aqua tabs have been identified as priority needs. UN agencies, along with the Pakistani Government and aid organizations, have started providing relief items to affected areas. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNCHR) is sending 500 tents and other items, while the UN World Health Organization (WHO) has set up medical camps. For its part, the UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT) has plastic sheets and tents ready, should the bee needed in Mardan district. Out of the some 2 million people were uprooted by clashes between Government forces and militants in north-western Pakistan, nearly 800,000 of them have now returned to their homes, OCHA warned last week that continued fighting is causing a fresh round of displacement. 17 August 2009Flash foods, triggered by heavy rainfall last week, have resulted in over two dozen deaths and more than 400 houses reportedly destroyed in north-west Pakistan, United Nations humanitarian agencies said today. read more