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Conference tackles flooding issues

Aid groups say repeated flooding requires relocation of vulnerable residents

A family affected by flooding this year in Sindh province A family affected by flooding this year in Sindh province
  • ucanews.com, Rawalpindi
  • Pakistan
  • September 20, 2011
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Church and aid officials held a press conference yesterday in Rawalpindi to address long-term community preparedness to ease the damage caused by recurring floods.

Father Bonnie Mendes, regional coordinator for Caritas Asia, said more needs to be done to keep villagers in flood-affected areas safe.

“Their houses are swept away every year. The authorities should shift them to higher and safer ground and grant them land on easy installments,” he said on the sidelines of the press conference.

In attendance at the press conference were Bishop Joseph Coutts of Faisalabad who is president of Caritas Pakistan, and Michel Roy, secretary general of Caritas Internationalalis.

Roy said the flooding was part of a global change in weather patterns.

“The donors cannot help the affected people again and again. The climate across the globe is changing and people must be relocated.”

Media reports further quoted Roy as saying that Caritas Internationalis would spend 1.9 million euros (about US$2.6 million) for relief related to this year’s flooding.

During his visit, Roy met officials of National Disaster Management Authority and inaugurated a Caritas Pakistan “model village” for flood victims in Multan diocese in Punjab province.

More than 342 people, including 77 children and 95 women, died in the second consecutive year of flooding in Sindh province, which affected a total of six million people. In addition, 539,899 houses were completely damaged and 2,800,000 acres of agricultural land were ravaged in all 23 districts in the region.

Caritas Pakistan Hyderabad, which oversees relief operations in most of Sindh province, has so far distributed 1,122 food packages and hygiene kits as well as treated 2,926 patients of waterborne diseases in 13 medical camps.

Caritas Pakistan supported 48,232 families in the relief phase of the last year’s flooding, which inundated one fifth of the country.

The group has also released a memoir titled “Restoring Dignigty,” which describes the role of Church organizations in providing disaster relief and includes stories of flood victims and the views of other partners involved in emergency aid to victims.

Related reports:

Caritas starts home-building project

Related reports

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