PESHAWAR, Oct 22 (APP): International Rescue Committee (IRC) has supported 300,000 individuals so far and working for the provision of assistance to 1.5 million people in the flood affected districts of Sindh, Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and Punjab, said a press release issued here on Friday.

An Early Needs Identification (ENI) assessment, carried out by IRC and its partners, indicates that the immediate reported needs by communities were of cash assistance, food items, and protection and health services.

“Currently, IRC is carrying out efforts in 16 districts of Sindh, Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab. The ambit of our protection services is further supplemented by provision of integrated services of multipurpose cash and psychological and social support sessions to individuals, families and communities,” said Shabnam Baloch, Country Director, IRC Pakistan, while sharing details of the Committee’s ongoing and future programming for displaced people.

She said that the IRC’s response has so far supported by nearly 300,000 individuals and emphasized that displaced families, particularly, the women and girls remained a priority along with groups that have been economically and socially marginalized. Assessments by the UN indicate that Pakistan could see as many as 2.7 million malaria cases in the 32 worst-hit districts by January 2023 and 5.74 million more people are at risk from famine, she expressed.

The IRC Country Director observed that although, the flood water levels were receding, yet the woes of those affected were compounding. “Therefore, responding to this colossal calamity is a collective responsibility and we need to step up our combined efforts.”

Shabnam Baloch said that IRC was supporting communities through providing food rations, household items and dignity kits. In addition to this, IRC is establishing medical camps, safe spaces and arranging psychological social support sessions along with provision of safe drinking water and sanitation facilities in the intervention districts.

The IRC emergency response program is now being scaled up through a multilateral donors’ base. On ground activities are being supported by 9 local partner organizations, she told and added that nearly 33 million people in Pakistan had been affected by catastrophic floods, the loss of human life had risen to 1,700 people, hundreds of thousands of homes had been damaged, over a million of livestock had perished and millions of acres of crops had become inundated.

“Pakistan is one of the world’s most climate-vulnerable countries. Today, there is no better example of a nation bearing the brunt of the effects of climate change as the floods at one point submerged one third of the country. However, Pakistan bears little responsibility for the growing climate crisis”.

Although Pakistan is the world’s 5th most populous nation, the country is responsible for just 0.6 percent of global carbon emissions. Thus, there is a need to initiate dialogues and discussions both nationally and globally on the discourse of climate change, concluded the press release, she added.

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