Swiss relief agencies raise funds for Pakistan

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Menschen und eine stark überflutete Strasse
 People affected by the heaviest monsoon rains in 30 years await help in Hyderabad. Keystone / Nadeem Khawar

Devastating floods in Pakistan have claimed the lives of more than 1,100 people so far and damaged about one million homes. The Swiss are raising funds to help victims of the natural disaster.This content was published on August 31, 2022 – 11:02August 31, 2022 – 11:02

FEED THE POOR

Feeding the poor and needy is an act that draws us closer to Allah. We earn His forgiveness, mercies and blessings through this act of charity.

“Anyone who looks after and works for a widow and a poor person is like a warrior fighting for Allah?s cause, or like a person who fasts during the day and prays all night. (Bukhari)

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Bad as it is, the situation is only likely to get worse, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said on Tuesday. Heavy monsoon rains continued to fall in areas already battered by storms and floods in the last two months. In Geneva, the United Nations together with the Pakistani government unveiled an initial six-month relief plan worth $116 million (CHF112.6 million).

“The disaster is colossal in terms of scale and devastation and has exceeded both our resources and capacity,” said the foreign minister. He echoed the assessment of various experts who have blamed climate change for the disaster.

“Pakistan has become ‘ground zero’ for the greatest existential threat of this century – global warming,” Bhutto Zardari said, adding that the worst floods to hit his country for decades were nothing short of a national emergency.

Many children among the victims

The South Asian country with its 220 million inhabitants has been suffering from unusually heavy monsoon rains since mid-June. The Balochistan region in the southwest is particularly affected.

But the north-west of Pakistan is now also struggling with major devastation due to floods. The number of natural disasters, such as floods, droughts and landslides, have increased in Pakistan in recent years.

Swiss Solidarity appeals for donations

Swiss Solidarity, the charitable arm of the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation, SWI swissinfo.ch’s parent company, is collecting donationsExternal link to support people affected by the floods in Pakistan. Its partner organisations on the ground, such as Helvetas and Solidar Suisse, have already started their emergency aid operations and are distributing food and drinking water, said Swiss Solidarity.

“In the coming days and weeks, we will provide urgently needed aid in cooperation with our Swiss partner organisations,” the charity added.End of insertion

According to the National Disaster Management Authority, close to 400 children are among the casualties. Nearly 3,500km of roads have been destroyed and about 160 bridges have collapsed. Farmers have lost about 700,000 animals.

Last Thursday the government in Islamabad declared a state of emergency and appealed for international assistance. National authorities say they are allocating $173 million in response to the catastrophe.

In all, more than 33 million people have been impacted by the floods, according to the government. The Ministry of Planning and Development says the disaster has cost the Pakistani economy some $10 billion.

Menschen bergen noch brauchbare Gegenstände aus einem von Fluten beschädigten Hotelgebäude
 People salvage whatever they can from a flood-damaged hotel in Kalam in the Swat Valley. Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

UN relief plan

According to Jens Laerke, a spokesperson for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Geneva, about half a million people have been left homeless. Many have been taken in by relatives and friends, while others are living in camps. New dwellings must be built urgently.

The relief plan presented in Geneva includes medical aid. Nearly 900 healthcare facilities have been destroyed or damaged. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), people have suffered a variety of injuries from debris carried by the floods or electrical shocks caused by torn cables. Infections such as cholera are also being reported. Such infections spread when sewage is not properly disposed of.

Switzerland has sent four experts from the Swiss Humanitarian Aid Unit to Pakistan. In cooperation with the Swiss embassy in Islamabad, the team will support aid efforts on the ground. The team has already arrived in Pakistan to undertake initial assessments.

source https://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/swiss-solidarity-celebrates-75-years-of-helping-people-in-need/46984290?utm_campaign=teaser-in-article&utm_content=o&utm_medium=display&utm_source=swissinfoch

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