Present in Pakistan since the early 1980s, Handicap International launched emergency responses following the country's 2005 earthquake and 2010 flooding. Teams are still working to improve the living conditions of those affected by natural disasters, especially people with disabilities. Today, our work focuses on natural disaster risk management and meeting the needs of people displaced by fighting in tribal areas in the northwest of the country. Handicap International currently employs 33 local staff members and three expatriate staff members in Pakistan.
Pakistan is increasingly and regularly hit by natural disasters. In 2005, an earthquake killed more than 70,000 people and displaced 3 million others from their homes. In 2010, unprecedented flooding affected more than 20 million people. Similar disasters occur every year; in 2014, nearly 3,500 villages were destroyed, affecting some two million people.
Armed conflict in northwest Pakistan is forcing civilians to flee conflict zones and take refuge in neighboring areas. Displaced populations include children, women, older people, and people with disabilities, made even more vulnerable by these disasters, and often forced to live in deplorable sanitary conditions. As of July 2014, 929,000 people displaced from North Waziristan were recorded in neighboring districts; 43% were children, 30% were women, and 23% were disabled.
Natural Disaster Risk Management
Handicap International is working with the population of Sindh province, where there is a high risk of flooding, to identify solutions to mitigate the risks and consequences of climate-related disasters. Communities are encouraged to perform their own natural disaster risk evaluations and implement evacuation plans, that include people with disabilities, and preventive measures such as alert systems and food stockpiling. In developing this project, Handicap International encourages the active participation of people with disabilities of all kinds and seeks to build solidarity between different communities.