Mobile water tanks, medical teams, boats and local volunteers have been put on high alert by Oxfam as the worst floods in living memory in Pakistan surge south.
Local organisations supported by Oxfam in Sindh are mobilised and on standby in response to reports of rivers in the province bursting their banks.
In Jamshoro west of Hyderabad, a group of 60 fishermen are prepared with 120 boats, trained in first aid and rescue ready to evacuate people from four districts.
Oxfam has bladder tanks ready in the threatened area so that families have access to clean drinking water without delay.
Elsewhere in Dadu, north of Karachi, a team of doctors, nurses and health assistants are ready, with a power boat and ambulance, for the devastation.
Official reports say 1600 people have been killed in the disaster and millions of people have been severely affected further north in the Swat and Punjab regions.
Local authorities estimate that an additional 700 000 could be affected by the looming floods in Sindh.
Oxfam’s Pakistan Country Director Neva Khan said that Oxfam is supporting local groups to gear up and get ready with healthcare, clean water, and evacuation teams.
“People are incredibly scared and fearful for their homes, fields, animals and their lives. But despite the imminent threat, local people are coming together and preparing as much as they possibly can for the devastation that is coming their way,” Ms Khan said.
There are already around 1000 people who have left their homes and are sheltering in camps in Dadu.
Oxfam will be distributing hygiene kits – made up of buckets, water purification tablets and soap – to more than 1000 people tomorrow.
In the areas already badly affected in Khyber Paktankhwa (formerly NWFP) and Punjab Province, Oxfam is today providing 4200 people with hygiene kits and kitchen sets, as well as continuing to truck clean drinking water to 39 200 people per day.
So far the agency has reached more than 100 000 people with clean water and helped local groups evacuate 80 000 stranded people.
For more information contact Oxfam Australia Media Coordinator Sunita Bose on 0407 555 960.