Alexandria, Va. – Islamic Relief USA is significantly scaling up its response in Pakistan to ensure long-term support for the half-million people affected by the devastating impact of unprecedented floods on infrastructure, food security and livelihoods – a situation described by the organization’s chief executive officer as the biggest disaster in the country’s history.
So far, $7.5 million has been raised by IRUSA and its federation partner organizations to provide urgent life-saving aid to those affected by the floods, but the large scale of the crisis means that much more is needed. The organization is now aiming to boost its funding to $34.5 million to help rebuild communities and provide ongoing support for 500,000 people across Balochistan, KPK, Sindh and Punjab.
So far Islamic Relief has helped more than 52,000 people with emergency aid including food, tents, drinking water, hygiene kits and cash grants. Rescue teams trained by Islamic Relief have also evacuated and rescued more than 1,000 people from rising water.
IRUSA’s new and expanded response plan for the next year will see it focus on ensuring that people are safe from further harm and can live in dignity by rebuilding infrastructure and livelihoods. Islamic Relief’s team in Pakistan will work closely with the national and local governments to:
· Rebuild damaged homes and infrastructure. More than 1.6 million homes have been destroyed or damaged, and Islamic Relief’s latest assessments found that three quarters of people in affected areas don’t have access to clean water. Islamic Relief is planning to build new flood resilient shelters for families and rehabilitate water supply systems and sanitation facilities.
· Rebuild the livelihoods of farmers and pastoralists. With more than 3.6 million acres of crops and orchards ruined by the floods and more than 800,000 livestock killed, Islamic Relief will support people who have lost their entire livelihoods – revitalizing agriculture by distributing seeds and organic fertilizer ahead of the upcoming planting season, and supporting herders by restocking animals and ensuring that surviving livestock stay healthy through vaccinations, deworming and providing fodder.
Provide people with cash, as many people have lost their only source of income and savings. Islamic Relief will provide people with cash grants so they can buy what they need and support local markets, and also employ local people on cash-for-work projects to remove debris and repair damaged roads and infrastructure.
· Keep vulnerable people safe. With so many people homeless and living in basic temporary shelters and camps, there is increased risk of violence and abuse. Islamic Relief will step up efforts to prevent gender-based violence (GBV) by establishing safe spaces for women and children; setting up referral pathways so that at-risk people in camps can access GBV prevention and response services; and constructing toilets and washing facilities that are safe and gender-appropriate.
· Address the psychological impact of the floods. Millions of people have been through incredibly traumatic events over the past few weeks. Islamic Relief will provide vulnerable people with counselling and psychosocial support.
· Focus on the most vulnerable, by providing food packs and nutritional support for pregnant and lactating women, and ensuring that services benefit people with disabilities.
Sharif Aly, CEO of Islamic Relief USA, said the world community must step up to help one of the largest nations.
“As we continue our campaigns to provide emergency assistance, we need to recognize the magnitude of this crisis that the monsoon floods have exposed to address Pakistan’s long-term needs,” Aly said. “The effects of climate change and the lack of, or insufficient, investment and planning for the future have resulted in massive suffering, destroyed infrastructure, displacement, and disturbance to daily life for tens of millions of people . The monsoon floods have exposed these weaknesses, and we all need to help Pakistan rebuild and become more resilient. Extreme weather events have, unfortunately, become the norm around the globe. This is an opportunity to help address the vulnerable spots and come out stronger. We all need to come together.”
Waseem Ahmad, CEO of Islamic Relief Worldwide, IRUSA’s federation partner, recently returned from Pakistan, where he visited affected communities in KPK and met with senior officials including Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif.
“This is the biggest disaster in Pakistan’s history and the impact will be felt for years to come,” he said. “The livelihoods of entire communities have been completely wiped out, and so many families have lost everything they owned. Islamic Relief has worked in Pakistan for many years, and we will be there for many more years to come, standing by communities in their time of need.
“This is a climate catastrophe in which melting glaciers and unprecedented monsoon rains have combined to devastate communities as never before. As well as meeting people’s immediate needs, it is vital that organizations like Islamic Relief support long-term recovery and rebuilding and speak out for climate justice until the biggest polluting countries reduce emissions which have such a destructive impact on vulnerable nations like Pakistan whose carbon footprint is relatively modest.
“Thanks to the outpouring of generosity from our supporters around the world, we are already ensuring that tens of thousands of people have lifesaving food, water and shelter. We are determined to ensure that the support people need will not stop with our emergency response, and will continue with work to rebuild infrastructure and livelihoods and build a better future.”
Syed M. Hassan
(571) 421-7032 (CELL)
Islamic Relief USA, based in Alexandria, Va., is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) humanitarian organization. Its mission is to provide relief and development in a dignified manner regardless of gender, race, or religion, and works to empower individuals in their communities and give them a voice in the world. Its programs benefit millions of people each year in more than 40 countries around the world, including in the United States.
Islamic Relief USA meets all of the Standards for Charity Accountability of the BBB Wise Giving Alliance, a national charity monitoring group affiliated with the Better Business Bureau system. Islamic Relief USA is on the U.S. government’s Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) charity list, and it is also a signatory to the code of conduct of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.