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Pakistan floods in 2010: Oxfam's response

Thanks to overwhelming public support, more than 2.4 million people have benefited from Oxfam's response to the 2010 floods in Pakistan. 

Donate to our emergency fund 

Oxfam in action

News reports in August 2010 first alerted the world to unnaturally heavy monsoon rains in Pakistan's north-west. The floods that followed were of a size and scale difficult to conceive. Floodwaters inundated up to one fifth of the country and affected an estimated 20 million people. Oxfam launched an immediate response to provide aid to those most in need.

In the first year of our response we reached more than 2.4 million people with humanitarian aid in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab, Sindh and Azad Jammu Kashmir. Our work focused on:

  • Water and sanitation

  • Food security and livelihoods 

  • Shelter 

  • Search and rescue

Pakistan Floods Progress Report: 2010-11

Video: Oxfam thanks supporters (January 2011)

Video: Oxfam thanks supporters (January 2011)

Water and sanitation

In the first year of our response we reached almost 1.6 million people with clean water through installing water tanks, repairing wells and water pipes, and trucking water to communities with no safe water supply.

We also distributed hygiene kits containing items such as bars of soap, towels, cloth that can be cut into sanitary towels for women, plastic kettles for washing, and buckets with lids for almost 1.4 million people.

Our other sanitation work included constructing emergency latrines and bathhouses, running public health and hygiene awareness campaigns, and ensuring that hand-washing facilities are located close to latrine blocks.

Video: from zero to water pump in 1 minute

Video: from zero to water pump in 1 minute

Food security and livelihoods

Many families' means of making a living were washed away in the floods. To save lives and cater for people's immediate needs, we ensured that people had food to eat, warm clothes to wear, and emergency cash support to buy medicines.

Then as people started to return home, we focused on supporting people with cash-for-work, establishing projects for men and women to earn money, and helping to restore a sense of normality to a crisis situation.

As of July 2011, more than 600,000 people have benefited from our food security and livelihoods support. This includes:

  • 150,000 people have been able to plant kitchen gardens with tools, seeds and support from Oxfam, and a further 38,000 have been given similar supplies to start replanting land

  • 36,000 people have been given funds and training to help them revitalise small scale businesses

  • We distributed cooked food and food rations to more than 79,000 people, fully involving camp residents in the cooking and distribution of meals to people in need.

Video: Spending a cheque

Video: Spending a cheque


Oxfam has helped to provide shelter for more than 232,000 people in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab and Sindh. This has included distributing shelter kits consisting of plastic sheeting with rope, nails, chemically treated mosquito nets, a small toolkit containing a hammer and saw, bamboo poles, wheelbarrows, and metal girders so that families could rebuild their homes in advance of the cold winter months.

In Sindh, where people had more time to evacuate, we provided smaller, more portable kits, intended to aid reconstruction as people returned home.

Search and rescue

In the initial phase of the aid effort, we helped safely evacuate more than 240,900 people trapped by the floods in Punjab and Sindh using local search and rescue boats.

Other ways to help