A family stays in the ruins of their house which was flooded. (Source: Detlef Hiller)

We cannot allow ourselves to become accustomed to disasters

(Duisburg, 13 August 2015) Small streams transformed overnight into raging rivers, desperate people standing up to their hips in water, roads swept away, homes and schools destroyed: We have seen such images so many times that they seem to no longer shock us. Take Pakistan: Back in July 2010, the country was devastated by the worst flooding in its history. At least 2,000 people died and some 20 million Pakistanis were affected. In 2011, large areas of Sindh and Baluchistan provinces were under water again. One year later, the floods destroyed 7,000 homes. In 2013, another 66,000 Pakistanis lost their livelihoods. Last year, 2 million people fled the regions of Punjab and Sindh. There were 270 deaths.

Despite the suffering, the international community barely takes notice of the recurring plight of children and adults anymore. As an internationally active development and relief organisation, Kindernothilfe helps the local population to deal with disasters, but it also aims to raise the public's awareness of the enormous threats facing these areas of the world. "Some 2 billion people in Asia and Africa depend on the regularity of the rains for their food and water", says Jörg Denker, Head of the Kindernothilfe Asia Desk. "In recent years, variations of over 20 percent have been measured. This leads to particularly heavy rainfalls — or to extreme periods of drought". Experts blame global warming for these climatic events.

Kindernothilfe and its partners in places like Pakistan have been dedicated to medium and long-term projects for years to improve the living conditions of local people, particularly children. Water management, training in disaster-resistant agricultural techniques and new self-help concepts all aim to improve the situation over the long term, above all in the villages. Nevertheless, one flood disaster occuring after the other as a result of climate change — and hence the legacy of the industrialisation in Europe and the US — means that organisations like Kindernothilfe are challenged to provide humanitarian assistance, not least to consolidate ongoing projects. "We support children and their families so they can deal effectively with difficult climate conditions. But we also increasingly have to ask our donors for support to cope with disasters", says Denker. "At the same time, we always explain that — already today — these projects allow us to prevent an even worse aftermath."

In early August, Kindernothilfe provided €150,000 in emergency aid for families in the regions of Sindh and Punjab, which are currently affected by the floods, and thus reached roughly 5,000 people. "We have been active here for many years and have excellent partners who specially focus on the needs of children. Our self-help groups, which we have been developing for some time now, reach remote regions and have valuable local knowledge about where help is most needed", says Denker.

Kindernothilfe is asking for donations to fund emergency aid to be paid onto the following account:

Kindernothilfe e.V.
Bank für Kirche und Diakonie eG,
Payment purpose code: 57599
IBAN: DE92 3506 0190 0000 4545 40


Christian Herrmanny, deputy press spokesperson
Tel.: +49 0203 7789-242; mobile +49 0178 232 9667