Flood survivors collect aid from Tearfund. Photo: SSEWA-Pak/Tearfund
12 October 2011
Until a Tearfund partner turned up, homeless Pakistan floods survivor Raichand Pretam had received no help for his destitute family.
The tenant farmer from the village of Bheel Colony was left in ‘a terrible situation’ after weeks of torrential rain wrecked his farming-dependent livelihood.
‘At present the village is completely under three feet of water, my house has totally collapsed, four animals died and three acres of my cultivated cotton crop has been destroyed,’ said Raichand, whose six-strong family is now living on a roadside.
‘My family members are sick due to unsafe drinking water; one of my sons had just had major surgery and was due to have a second operation but now we don’t have the money for that and we can’t earn anything.’
Tearfund partner SSEWA-Pak is providing relief aid in Raichand’s community. Raichand said, ‘So many organisations came here but nobody responded with help until the team from SSEWA-Pak visited.
‘They promptly provided food for a month, mosquito nets and a rain protection sheet. We are very thankful to this organisation for providing help in this difficult situation and pray may God bless SSEWA-Pak.’
The Tearfund team and four Tearfund partners are helping more than 45,000 people with a variety of relief aid, with plans to extend this number soon.
Food, health kits, plastic sheeting, jerry cans and fodder for livestock are being provided and 1,250 families are receiving cash to provide for household needs.
A man tries to retrieve possessions from the flood waters. Photo: SSEWA-Pak/Tearfund
One partner is running mobile medical clinics to primarily help those who have succumbed to waterborne illnesses.
Three weeks without monsoon rains is helping recovery efforts for many thousands of people affected by severe flooding in Sindh and Balcohistan provinces.
But despite the respite from the rain, it is estimated that it will still take up to two months for the flood waters to recede.
Around 400 people died and 5.4 million others have been affected by the flooding, which has blighted Pakistan for the second year running.
Although some people have started to go back to what is left of their homes, many areas are still under three or four foot of water.
The UN says many people are still in a precarious situation, living at the side of roads and lacking food and other basic essentials.
The Sindh-Balochistan Rice Mills Association estimates the floods have damaged 20–25 per cent of paddy crops in Sindh and the lingering flood waters are likely to severely disrupt the sowing of the forthcoming wheat crop which will exacerbate food shortages.
International aid is trickling in but more is urgently needed as there are some survivors who have not received any help at all, including many low-caste Hindus.