CWS providing basics for Pakistan's flood survivors

With its steep valleys and isolated villages, the northern Pakistani district of Kohistan is a tough, hardscrabble place, and already residents coping with Pakistan's recent devastating floods are worried about the coming winter.

CWS medical team member treating patient
A CWS medical team member treats a flood survivor with a serious skin lesion. CWS is assisting some 100,000 flood survivors with basics such as food, shelter and medical care.
Photo: Chris Herlinger/CWS

See also video Pakistan floods: Inside the CWS response

By Chris Herlinger/CWS

DUBAIR, Pakistan – With its steep valleys and isolated villages, the northern Pakistani district of Kohistan is a tough, hardscrabble place, and already residents coping with Pakistan’s recent devastating floods are worried about the coming winter.

Their concerns are based on pre-existing problems in Kohistan. Malnutrition, tuberculosis and eye and skin infections are among the conditions that were already common here prior to the worst natural disaster in Pakistan’s history.

In the past week, as the Ramadan season neared its end and as Pakistani Muslims prepared to celebrate the holiday of Eid, Church World Service provided medical care for hundreds in several locales in Kohistan and surrounding districts through its mobile health units. CWS also distributed food packages to dozens of flood-affected families.

“This is the only health care we receive,” said Mohammad Khalid, one of dozens of patients able to see a physician from the CWS program in the flood-affected village of Mohandari, near Balakot, an area where CWS provided assistance after the 2005 Pakistan earthquake.

Meanwhile, in another locale,  CWS project officer Imran Munir noted that “there is security in food” as a distribution for flood-affected families  got under way last Saturday, not far from Dubair, Kohistan. Among the food items distributed:  rice, wheat flour, sugar and tea.

In a village in northern Pakistan, 72-year-old farm laborer Noor Paras, who had already received one of the CWS food packages, praised the response of Church World Service and its partners to the floods and described the food packages he and his family received “as a gift from God.”

But needs remain dire in Pakistan, given the potential for the spread of infectious diseases and wide-spread food shortages, said Dr. Qamar Zaman, a medical coordinator for CWS. He stressed the need for continued support for humanitarian work in Pakistan, noting that “health care is a basic human right.”

He added:  “We're grateful for the international community that thinks of Pakistanis as their brothers and sisters.”

How to help

Contributions to support the emergency needs in Pakistan may be made online or by phone (800.297.1516), or may be sent to your denomination or to Church World Service, P.O. Box 968, Elkhart, IN 46515, Attention: Pakistan floods. 

ACT Alliance  Church World Service is a member of the ACT Alliance, a global coalition of churches and agencies engaged in development, humanitarian assistance and advocacy.

Media Contact:
Lesley Crosson, 212-870-2676, lcrosson@churchworldservice.org
Jan Dragin, 781-925-1526, jdragin@gis.net


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