Waters continue to rise in Pakistan as millions are displaced
Over 14 million affected by flood disaster

The number of people affected by the floods is worse than the tsunami, the 2005 Pakistan earthquake and the Haiti earthquake says the UN.

Monsoon rains continue to sweep across parts of Pakistan. According to UNHCR's local partners on the ground, rain is falling again in northern areas of the Swat Valley.

The bloated Swat river has burst its banks, inundating the rich agricultural region. Of some 25 bridges in Swat, we have reports that 22 have been washed out as flood waters wash downstream towards the Kabul and Indus rivers.

UNHCR emergency response teams report shortages of food and medicine. Power and gas supplies have been cut. In many areas, mud in the wells has spoiled the drinking water supply as well.

Monsoon-affected people have told UNHCR teams how they fled their homes as they were hit by walls of water.

Tens of thousands of homes have been destroyed or badly damaged. Even those that survived the deluge are filled with mud, their furnishings destroyed. Families have lost their food stocks, livestock and personal possessions.

$114 can provide an emergency tent for a displaced family that has lost everything.

According to the Pakistan government, more than 248,000 homes have been destroyed or damaged and 1.38 million acres of crop land flooded across Pakistan.

At least 10,000 cows have drowned over the past eight days.

Akbar Ali, 50, is a carpenter in the village of Utmanzai. His home as well his all his carpentry tools vanished in the flood water. "I do not have money to buy (them) again and restart my work".

Tenant farmers who have lost their homes fear that their landlords will never rebuild them, or that they will put off construction until their own homes have been rebuilt, forcing the farmers to live under UNHCR's tents and plastic sheeting for the foreseeable future.

"We have no place to stay," one woman now living in a school near Peshawar explained to a visiting UNHCR field team. "We are in this school but once it opens after the summer break what will happen to us? Where will we go?"

The ruins of homes destroyed in the worst flooding Pakistan has seen in decades.  Tali village, Balochistan (c) UNHCR/N. James
The UN Refugee Agency is initially aiming to support more than 350,000 of the most vulnerable among the flood-affected population in Pakistan and is appealing to donor countries and the general public to do so.

With many hundreds of thousands of people having no adequate shelter, food or water, and key roads and bridges cut off, the UN Refugee Agency is in a race against time to reach affected communities.

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Across Pakistan's Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan provinces, more than 12,000 UNHCR tents have so far been distributed along with thousands of other relief items such as plastic tarpaulins, blankets, jerry cans and kitchen sets as part of a coordinated response effort involving the government, UN and NGOs.

UNHCR's relief items are being distributed by carefully selected partner charities.

In addition to tents and plastic tarpaulins, the UN Refugee Agency is distributing cooking sets, blankets, sleeping mats, jerrycans and buckets. Some displaced families have set up makeshift tented camps using donated aid supplies on the median strip along the Islamabad-Peshawar highway adjacent to the swirling Kabul River.

UNHCR's main mandate is protecting refugees, but the organization has always positively responded to the call for humanitarian assistance for the local population of Khyber Pakthunkhwa and Balochistan. Living in Pakistan's monsoon-affected communities are some 1.5 million Afghan refugees who have taken shelter in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan over the past three decades and an estimated 700,000-plus people displaced by fighting in the Swat Valley and other areas last year.

Some 5,000 Afghan families are affected in one camp known as Azakahel. The camp is still under water with very little possibility of distribution of household assistance. In coordination with Afghan refugees, UNHCR is negotiating with Afghan refugee elders for possible relocation to another camp within the area. So far, 1,000 families have agreed to relocate, while the remaining expressed concerns about their security. 4,000 tents and 4,000 plastic sheets are to be distributed to affected population.