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Asia

Thousands flee flood in Sindh province

Hundreds of thousands of people in southern Pakistan have been forced to flee after the swollen Indus river breached an embankment in the province of Sindh.

Children play at a tent camp for flood victims in Razaqabad on the outskirts of Karachi

Children play at a tent camp for flood victims in Razaqabad on the outskirts of Karachi

Dozens of people, carrying plastic bottles, canisters and cans jostle at the water tank in a refugee camp on the outskirts of Karachi.


Since August 14, people fleeing the floods in the lower reaches of the Indus, have come to the southern Pakistani metropolis. An estimated 300,000 people have been evacuated from Thatta city, which is some 60 km east of Karachi.

"People are continuing to come towards Karachi. Possibly we will need more camps to be set up," explains as the head of this camp Imran Shah.

Residents swim and float as they wait for an air drop of food near Thul in Sindh province

Residents swim and float as they wait for an air drop of food near Thul in Sindh province

Some ten thousand displaced people have been accommodated in houses. The city administration has also made a newly constructed government building available to the victims.

"We are providing here food, water, medical care and we are taking all possible steps to help the people," says Imran Shah.

He alth problems


On the floor above Shah's office, the health department has set up a clinic. Children are being given priority treatment here. Dr. Rehman, along with his three colleagues, sees over a hundred patients every day.

"Most of them come with gastroenteritis, pneumonia, malaria, whooping cough, skin inflammation and rashes," he says.

These include farmers, laborers and their families from the province of Sindh, who because of the flood have left their villages for the first time. Sajjad is one of them.

"We have come from Jacobabad, Shikarpur and from places, which are several hundred kilometers from Karachi," he says.


Here in the refugee camp he shares a room with eight family members.

"We get rice and lentils here. A Pakistani organization is also distributing warm food," he says.

Flood victims receive medical treatment at a camp in Karachi

Flood victims receive medical treatment at a camp in Karachi


Identifying the victims


The six camps, the authorities have set up in Karachi are not enough for all the people who have fled the floods and come here. Many are camping on the outskirts of the city. They have to rely on help from aid agencies, private individuals and political parties. But anyone who has lost his identity card will not get a place in the camp.

"We have our own mechanism to identify people affected by the flood," explains Shah.

Imran Shah says identification is important because of professional beggars or some other people, who want to benefit from state services.

He doesn't say how long the camp will remain there. The extent of the flood is so huge that the consequences too will be massive. Even if the flood waters recede many people will remain dependent on help for a long time.

Author: Sabina Matthay / du

Editor: Grahame Lucas





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