Situation Update on Super Flood in Punjab by HANDS International

 Heavy Rains in upper Punjab, Kashmir and Indian Occupied Kashmir has triggered floods in the rivers Chenab, Jhelum, Ravi and Sutlej. The affected districts so far are Sialkot, Narowal, Gujrat, Gujranwala, Mandi Bahauddin, Hafizabad, Chiniot and Jhang. Moreover, India has reportedly released 818,000 cusec of water in Chenab which generated exceptionally high flood in River Chenab that had passed through Head Marala and Head Khanki and expected to reach south Punjab at Head Trimmu and Head Punjnad in coming days, and enter Sindh later in the week. Flood warnings have been issued by Multan, Muzaffargarh, Lodhran, Rahim Yar Khan and Bahawalpur district administrations and various camps have been established by district administrations at various high risk points in these districts along the rivers Chenab and Sutlej banks. Population living in low lying and river belts have been evacuated to avoid losses.

Latest updates reported that more than 0.5 million people have been affected and over more than 800 villages are inundated by these heavy rains and flood in upper and central Punjab. These heavy rains and floods have reportedly resulted at least 193 deaths and 364 injuries/accidents are reported in affected districts of Punjab so far. The deaths are predominantly due to roof collapses, electrocution accidents, etc. The death toll is likely to rise as reports were coming in of floodwaters sweeping through villages in rural areas. Reports indicate widespread destruction of the critical infrastructure, habitats and livelihoods.

The population from most of the affected village was evacuated to safe places. Still there are people who are trapped in the waters. Flood relief camps are established for affected and displaced population by district administration and Department of Health.

 According to latest hydrological conditions of River Indus, Guddu is likely to attain High to Very High Flood Level from 13 Sept. to 14 Sept. 2014. Sukkur: According to latest hydrological conditions of River Indus at Sukkur is likely to attain High to Very High Flood Level from 14 Sept. to 15 Sept 2014. NDMA/ PDMA has informed to all concerned authorities to take all necessary measures to avoid any loss of life and property.

HANDS Preparation and Response:

Chief Executive HANDS has declared Emergency within the Organization and has directed the staff and volunteers to mobilize all available resources. HANDS Emergency response Centre/ Operations Room in Pakistan has begun coordination between Government NDMA (National Disaster Management Authority) and PDMAs (Provincial Disaster Management Authorities) with HANDS
Provincial and District offices and disaster management centres. All the emergency response will be initiated from HANDS Disaster Risk Management Centre for Northern Districts, which is fully equipped and resourced with Emergency Stock, Vehicles, Boats, De watering machines and Ambulance Services. HANDS Early warning Centre is disseminating Early Warning messages regularly to Community Based organizations as they can be prepare to meet with any further disaster.

To respond to the situation, Operation centre is established at HANDS Head office to coordinate with the Islamabad, Lahore, Rajanpur, and Sukkur offices to monitor the situation.

So far HANDS teams have done the following:

Ø  At national level, the Operations room has been made functional to coordinate with Provincial and District offices, NDMA, PDMAs and DDMAs, Provincial and District departments and other local partners, while logistic and other necessary arrangements are being harmonised.

Ø  Three Rapid Assessment Teams have visited three affected districts in upper Punjab and completed the assessment of Sialkot, Mandi Bahauddin and Chiniot districts.

Ø  According to the assessment of these three districts, total of 76 union councils, 802 villages and 175000 families are affected. It is estimated that more than 50% of the houses in the affected locations have been partially or fully damaged. A significant number of livestock perished and over a large area the crops have been damaged.

HANDS team has made following recommendations:

Immediate Relief Phase:

Ø  Provision of food and non food items except tents

Ø  Medical response teams along with medicines to deal with skin diseases, wounds, acute respiratory infection particularly in children, malaria, etc.

Ø  Supply of Aqua tablets for clean drinking water

Early Recovery Phase:

Early recovery phase in upper and central region districts of Punjab is about to begin as water has started receding quickly in most of the area and people have started going back to their places. However following concerns need to be looked at and dealt with immediately:

Ø  Shelter for people / families affected and displaced by floods

Ø  Medical and primary healthcare support to deal with expected increase in ARI (acute respiratory infections), diarrhoea, and waterborne skin diseases.

Ø  Restoration and reconstruction of broken and damaged infrastructure and houses

Ø  Restoration and repair of already damaged water sources and providing and maintaining the supply of safe drinking water via tube wells and hand pumps.

Ø  Appropriate sanitation and disposal services

Ø  Food and nutrition

Ongoing Support:

HANDS has already developed an Emergency Response Strategy under the disaster management program. This program will support in assessment and provision of above identifies priorities. For the purpose of assessment further teams have been deployed in the districts of Jhang and Hafizabad. Teams are also actively engaged in rescue and relief activities in lower Punjab and Sindh.