08/05/2010, 00.00
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Pakistan, Caritas commitment to flood victims

Caritas, active from the first hours after the disaster, is working to distribute basic necessities to families affected by floods. According to the UN at least 4 million people are involved in the cataclysm.

Islamabad (AsiaNews) - Pakistan continues to fight against the most disastrous floods in its history. And while the UN announced that at least 4 million people have been affected, Caritas Pakistan has taken steps to help the displaced. According to the operators of the Catholic organization, "in the country, the number of dead and displaced due to heavy monsoon rains and flooding is increasing. The greatest difficulty is to reach many villages that remained isolated”.

The problem, volunteers explain, "is that the roads are completely flooded and movement is largely on foot, electric and telephone lines are out of order. Unfortunately, more rain is expected. In many areas, such as Khyber and Shangla Pakhtunkhwa, drinking water is increasingly scarce and there is a risk of cholera and intestinal diseases”. Caritas, active from the early hours of the disaster, has already provided tents, blankets, hygiene kits in the areas of Balochistan, Punjab and the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Even the Italian Bishops' Conference has mobilised relief efforts for the disaster, allocating one million Euros and inviting church communities to pray for and support initiatives of solidarity promoted by Caritas. In Pakistan, the operators continue, "Caritas has provided 1,500 families in Peshawar water, food, cooking utensils and hygiene kits. Hygiene kits and water purification tablets were distributed to 1350 households also Karkhan and Kohlu. There are also plans to launch cash-for-work projects, allowing those whose livestock and crops have been destroyed to receive compensation direct participation in the reconstruction activities".

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), is also active in the area and today launched a massive air operation using helicopters to speed up relief operations and deliver urgent food rations to isolated people because of the devastating floods that hit the northern Pakistan.

The first three missions have taken place in the city of Kalam Tuesday morning, with the overall transportation of 7 tons of food, enough to feed 2,500 people for a week. "In the midst of destruction, with the blocked roads and bridges destroyed by water, these helicopters are really a lifesaver, as the only way to bring food to thousands of hungry and desperate people," said WFP Executive Director Josette Sheeran.
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