IOM communications teams in flood-hit areas of Sindh are saving lives by reporting the needs of families cut off by the floods to aid agencies, enabling them to provide a coordinated response, delivering food, health care, shelter and other lifesaving items.
The teams are also alerting displaced communities to public health issues including dengue, malaria, diarrhea and snake bite prevention and treatment, at the request of the government and the humanitarian community.
Recently, an IOM team identified 40 families in Mohammad Bakhsh village in Mirpurkhas district who were stranded in flood-water and had run out of food. The information was immediately reported to the “cluster” of agencies delivering food aid and the villagers’ needs were promptly met.
In the same village, the team identified 5,500 animals at risk from flood-related diseases. The Executive District Officer (EDO) was informed and an immediate vaccination drive was arranged.
“Our over 20 teams in Sindh are facilitating by two-way communication from the communities to the authorities and from humanitarian partners and the government to the affected population. This is helping to bridge communication gap and saving lives,” says IOM Communication Project Officer Maria Ahmed.
IOM recently expanded the coverage of the communication teams from 14 to 21 of the 23 districts in Sindh.
The teams are also supporting the government’s new initiative of emergency relief to flood-affected families through distribution of the Pakistan Card.
This debit card currently provides Rs 20,000 for each flood-affected family in the worst hit districts of Umerkot, Sanghar, Badin, Tharparkar, Tando Allah Yar, Tando Muhammad Khan, Shaheed Benazirabad.
The teams have also developed frequently asked questions (FAQ) and a Sindh Service Directory for aid agencies and flood-affected communities, which is being extensively used during emergency operations in affected areas.