As Floodwaters Recede, a Crisis Emerges

Two months after flooding began in the northern reaches of Pakistan, the waters of the Indus River continue to flood low-lying areas of Sindh, the country’s southernmost province. The flooding killed about 1,800 people, and more than 20 million people, or around 14 percent of the country’s population, have been affected. The United Nations estimates that 12.4 million people are in need of immediate humanitarian assistance, meaning they have no access to clean water and are living in temporary shelters. Millions do not know when they will be able to return home. A majority of the displaced are farmers, and the flooding has destroyed not only their homes but their fields, herds and livelihoods. The complexity of the situation, combined with the instability in the country, makes it the worst natural disaster the United Nations has ever responded to in its 65-year history, according to a recent report by the organization.