This summer, Deutsche Cleft Kinderhilfe e.V.’s cleft lip and palate treatment project country Pakistan is suffering from catastrophically heavy flooding that has grown into a nationwide catastrophe exacerbated by climate change. Some provinces of the country have received several times as much rain as usual for the season. Glacier melt has also been heavier than usual due to severe heat, leading to even higher water levels in the nation’s rivers. By the end of August, Pakistan’s minister of climate change estimated that a third of the country was affected. The known death toll already exceeds a thousand lives lost, and the material damage has also been huge, with terrible damage to houses, infrastructure and crops.
Many have been forced to flee and are now facing exposure, lack of food and drinking water, and exposure to waterborne diseases, which could easily kill many more. Among those helping the victims is our project partner in the Cleft Pakistan project, the Al Mustafa Welfare Society, a large Pakistani charity. They have been providing cooked meals and medical care to those in need. The video below was made by them and shows some of the extent of the catastrophe.
“The situation on the ground is far more grim compared to whatever you see on media. There are many areas which are not reachable by roads. Boats are needed which are sparse. Role of government is very minimal. All relief work is done by non governmental organisations. Relief NGOs are providing raw edibles like flour, rice, sugar and cooking oil, but flood affected people have no facility to cook. They need ready made food like dates, biscuits, chips, lentil etc.
We had planned a cleft camp in Khairpur on 9th and 10th September which we had to cancel. Fortunately Karachi is safe from flooding. Being the largest city and industrial hub of Pakistan, donations from city are also huge. Many NGOs are active and doing good work.
Deutsche Cleft Kinderhilfe e.V. is deeply saddened by this terrible disaster that has befallen our friends and cleft care partners in Pakistan and their compatriots. We hope that the weather will improve, and that sufficient international and national aid will be made available so that the people of Pakistan can recover and quickly move forward with repairing the damage and rebuilding their livelihoods.