The newly constituted Overseas Aid & Development Commission has recently held its first full meeting, which included considering Disaster and Emergency Relief Award applications for the Pakistan Monsoon Floods, Yemen Floods, and Myanmar Refugees on the border of India.
The Commission agreed to make donations of £50,000 to the British Red Cross to help alleviate the ongoing effects of the severe Monsoon Floods in Pakistan; £50,000 to Action for Humanity to help people affected by floods and conflict in Yemen; and £35,000 to Health & Hope UK to assist refugees from Myanmar located on the border with India.
The new Commission had also previously made a donation of £20,000 to the United Kingdom for UNHCR Pakistan Floods appeal. As reported by the Commission at that time, over 30 million people in Pakistan have been affected by exceptional rains and devastating floods across the Country. This has left 6.4 million people in urgent need of humanitarian assistance. UNHCR teams are on the ground distributing aid, in particular to refugees, and their host communities, who had previously been displaced from Afghanistan.
The British Red Cross is also supporting flooded communities in Pakistan and states: “it is feared the worst is yet to come” due to rising flood waters and continued rainfall in some areas. Outbreaks of waterborne diseases have triggered a health emergency with an increase in fatalities due to limited access to health services. The additional donation of £50,000 will be used to tackle disease, notably Cholera from contaminated water and exposure to mosquitos. The Guernsey donation will provide hygiene kits and mosquito nets to assist at least 1,000 households totalling 7,000 people.
Although less widely reported, Yemen has also been struck by floods. Torrential rain has caused extensive damage to public infrastructure and the camps and shelters of already internally displaced persons due to conflict. 86,000 people have been affected. The Charity, Action for Humanity, is working in the Al Hudaydah region which was already suffering particularly severe conditions because of the war. The floods have affected 15 internally displaced persons’ hosting sites in that area alone, with limited humanitarian assistance being provided. The majority of the £50,000 donation to Action for Humanity will provide food such as flour, beans, sugar, salt and rice to 2,200 people.
Action for Humanity is a respected global Charity which was originally founded in the UK by a group of doctors to provide assistance and aid to those devastated by conflict.
The final donation of £35,000 to Health & Hope UK will provide shelter, food, hygiene supplies, medical assistance, and livelihood support to approximately 850 Myanmar refugees across 22 villages in Mizoram State in India. Since the military coup in Myanmar in February 2021, 50,000 refugees have crossed the border into India. Local communities in India have been supporting the refugees by accommodating them in their own homes and providing food as the refugees are not recognised by the Indian National Government.
However, with the ongoing military offensive in Myanmar, refugees continue to pour across the border in large numbers and local communities are unable to cope with the growing demand. In one village over 910 refugees had arrived by the end of July, representing a 67% population increase from the previous year.
The Commission has previously worked in partnership with Health & Hope by funding sustainable health projects in Myanmar itself, but since the coup the Charity’s focus has had to be on the refugees in India which the Commission has also previously supported.
Deputy Chris Blin, the President of the OA&DC, said: “I am pleased that the Commission is able to provide further support to help alleviate, in a small way, the severe hardship being faced by people affected by the Pakistan Floods. I am also pleased that we are able to provide assistance, with the help of our partners, to less widely reported crises that do not always make the national headlines.
Yemen has been suffering terribly with conflict for 7 years and it remains the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. The recent floods have only exacerbated the difficulties being faced by many innocent people. The situation on the borders of Myanmar also continues to worsen. Guernsey’s donations from the Commission’s existing Disaster and Emergency Relief Aid budget will help 10,000 people to have the means to simple survive.”
Main picture: Floods in Pakistan. Photo credit: The British Red Cross Society.