29 November 2011
For the poorest people in Pakistan, the recent extensive floods destroyed more than fragile homes and livelihoods.
Self-respect and a sense of self-worth were often also victims of the flooding that swept through the provinces of Sindh and Balochistan.
Noor Khatoo can relate to these feelings. The 61-year-old widow lost everything, including her home, when the high water ripped trough her village of Nizambaran.
Noor and her adopted 16-year-old son had to flee and ended up living in a camp for displaced people in Karachi, where they stayed for three months.
Their already tough existence has become even more vulnerable and dependent on others but there is hope for Noor, who is now staying with her brother-in-law while a new home is built for her.
Tearfund provided food, a hygiene kit and a water filter to Noor and her son in the immediate aftermath of the disaster, which has affected more than 5 million others.
Looking to the long term, we have also given her goats which as well as providing a source of food, will also generate income as their numbers multiply.
Food and other aid ready for distribution to flood survivors. Photo: SSEWA-Pak/Tearfund
Noor said, ‘I’m an extremely poor woman, dependent on others. I am very thankful to Tearfund who provided me with goats which give me a sense of ownership for the first time in my life.
‘I can feel respect for me in others’ eyes, as in our society and culture if one has some asset, he or she is respected. Now I have two goats and one has two offspring. So now I have some support and a source of income as I can sell the offspring.’
Tearfund is helping tens of thousands of Pakistanis following the floods as follows:
• 6,200 households are receiving food
• 5,450 households are receiving mosquito nets
• 4,750 households are receiving plastic sheets
• 4,450 households are receiving hygiene kits
• 2,250 households are receiving cash grants
• 2,000 households are receiving blankets
• 1,000 households are receiving tents
There are still many hardships for flood survivors as food prices are rising, unemployment is high and water-related illness is apparent.
As well as direct aid, Tearfund is giving people training about how to be prepared for future disasters.
But the work ahead is considerable. Asher Shahzad, a Tearfund Disaster Risk Reduction Officer, said, ‘There is still a lot to do to restore communities to normality. We’re trying to ensure community participation is as high as possible.’