Written statement to Parliament

Written Ministerial Statement on Pakistan Floods

This speech was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Written Ministerial Statement on Pakistan Floods the Secretary of State for International Development, Andrew Mitchell.

I would like to update the House on the Pakistan floods and the UK Government’s response to the ongoing emergency relief and early recovery needs of the critically affected population.

Four months after the onset of the floods, the situation remains deeply challenging.  The majority of the 14 million people who were displaced by the floods have returned to their areas of origin, apart from in Sindh Province.   But with homes, farms and villages badly damaged, they will need humanitarian relief for months to come and help to restore livelihoods and basic services, particularly education and health, in the affected areas.

The situation in Sindh remains critical.  Up to 350,000 families remain displaced by protracted flooding on the right bank of the Indus in northern Sindh.  These people are hard to reach and will need humanitarian relief well into next year - especially shelter, with winter setting in across Pakistan.

In this context, I am pleased to inform the House of further UK Government support for relief and recovery efforts since I last updated the House on 12 October. These include:

  • Providing safe drinking water, sanitation services, basic healthcare, basic household items and shelter to some 305,000 people in Sindh and Punjab through Handicap International, Oxfam, and CARE for a total cost of £5.5 million.
  • Providing emergency shelter for 180,000 people in the worst affected areas of Sindh, through a £1.7 million grant to Concern.
  • Assisting 25,000 people in Sindh to build permanent homes to replace those destroyed in the floods, through a £1.8 million grant to UNHABITAT.
  • Supporting a disease early warning system and provision of essential health services to over 500,000 people in the areas worst affected by the floods for the next six months, through a contribution of £2 million to the World Health Organisation’s most recent appeal.
  • Helping 200,000 children to resume education, through programmes costing £10 million involving Save the Children, Plan International and Hands.  This will involve rehabilitation of damaged schools and provision of temporary facilities where schools have been destroyed while longer term reconstruction is implemented.
  • Supporting agricultural livelihoods and the wider rural economy that will benefit approximately one million people.  The programme will provide work opportunities, cash grants, materials, tools, seeds, skills training and technical expertise over the next nine months, through the Consortium of British Humanitarian Agencies at a total cost of £20 million.
  • Helping over 28,000 families to acquire and look after domestic animals such as poultry, goats, and donkeys to improve nutrition and support their incomes.
    All of these interventions have been appraised in detail by my Department to ensure value for money and a focus on results. 

The overall DFID humanitarian programme for the flood affected areas is proceeding well. I can report that, as of 1 December, UKAid has achieved the following; approximately:

  • 971,390 people have been provided with drinking water 
  • 254,480 people have had access to latrines and/or washing areas 
  • 867,900 people have received hygiene kits or hygiene education 
  • 453,860 people have had access to basic healthcare 
  • 712,590 women and children have received supplementary or therapeutic feeding for malnutrition 
  • 540,560 people have received emergency goods packages typically including blankets, cooking equipment, jerry-cans, and plastic sheeting. 
  • 504,450 people have received emergency shelter; and
  • 71,925 people have benefited from seeds and fertilisers

These results are provisional estimates from ongoing operations where the eventual total number of beneficiaries will be significantly higher. 

As a result of UK and other interventions, the risk of disease has been contained so far. But there is no room for complacency. Millions of people will remain highly vulnerable and dependent on external assistance until homes, basic services, economic infrastructure and livelihoods are re-established. My Department plans to maintain a dedicated Flood Response team on the ground in Pakistan for the next six to nine months, actively monitoring the situation and our programme of humanitarian relief and recovery.