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Restoring hope after the rains

How Scottish funds have been helping people to rebuild their lives following devastating flooding in Pakistan.

Written by Jen Clark | 07 Jun 2024

A woman stands with her three children and their goat. There is also a sack of goat feed to the side of them.

Haseena Mai and her family have received goats and goat feed to help them rebuild their livelihood. Credit: Tearfund Partner REEDS

In 2022, Pakistan experienced the worst floods in its history: 33 million people had to flee their homes and more than 1,700 people died. Pakistan’s Minister of State for Climate Change said that one-third of the country was underwater, and there was ‘no dry land to pump the water out’. She described it as a ‘crisis of unimaginable proportions’.

The floods were also described as ‘one of the most costliest natural disasters in history’ and the World Bank estimated that the damage caused and economic losses totalled over US$30 billion.

Scottish funds to help rebuild

At the end of last year, Tearfund received £250,000 from the Scottish Government to address the significant damage caused by the floods and to help rebuild livelihoods in some of the communities worst affected.

This funding was allocated as part of the Scottish Government’s commitment to tackling ‘loss and damage’ experienced as a result of climate change-related events. It recognises that the nations which have contributed the least to the climate crisis are often hit hardest by its impacts.

Since receiving the funds, Tearfund and our local partner, REEDS, have been seeing lives restored in communities in Rajanpur district, Punjab.

Our response has focused on helping people rehabilitate their water supplies and supporting people, particularly women, to restore or rebuild their livelihoods. Overall, 14,500 people from more than 2,000 households in 20 communities have benefited from this project.

Jonathan Johnson, Tearfund’s Pakistan Country Director, says the funds were timely: ‘After the floods in 2022, Pakistan had experienced devastating losses. People had lost their homes, their livelihoods, their dignity. At Tearfund, we helped respond to this emergency in the immediate aftermath, and then the Scottish Government funding came at a crucial moment to help get people back on their feet in the longer term.

‘The Scottish Government has been instrumental in supporting our efforts to help communities here recover, through restoring lost livelihoods and providing essential water supplies – enabling families and communities to rebuild their lives quickly and with confidence.’

Reaching those in greatest need

Haseena Mai is just one of the women who has seen huge transformation in her family and her community. She had been extremely worried about food security ever since losing her husband, who was a labourer and the main breadwinner of her family. So she was already very vulnerable when the floods hit, destroying her home and everything inside it.

Haseena’s life was shattered. She had to sell her livestock in order to survive, but then had no way to generate income to feed her family or to send them to school. Her family went hungry and were forced to live under the open sky.

This is where our partner REEDS stepped in, providing her with two goats, 45 days’ feed for them, and the training and support she needed to rear them.

‘I have transformed the destiny of my entire family,’ says Haseena. ‘Goats are ideal for small-scale farmers like me. The extra milk from the goats is used to nourish my children and I plan to sell the male goats for a good profit to continue my goat-rearing business. What I have left will be spent on my children's education. Myself and my children are happy and thankful to have the opportunity to lead a better life.’

Equipped for the future

Bee Roy, Head of Tearfund Scotland, says Scottish funds have been vital in reaching those affected the most by this climate disaster:

‘It is amazing to hear the stories of transformation and restoration coming from our colleagues in Pakistan. People who lost everything in such tragic circumstances are now being equipped for the future, thanks to what we have received from the Scottish Government’s loss and damage fund.

‘I love that the local community was involved in every aspect of the project – helping to identify those in most need and prioritising what was needed. And there was a particular focus on involving women, who were included in community committees to ensure their voices were heard in relation to how the funding was spent.

‘Thank you to the Scottish Government for this vital support, through which we are seeing people in Pakistan like Haseena Mai rebuild and restore hope for their future, and the future of their children. It is important that we continue to recognise that less affluent countries in our world are facing the brunt of climate-related challenges, and we all have a part to play in responding to the devastation caused.’

To find out more about this project, watch this short film created by our Tearfund Pakistan team.

Written by

Written by  Jen Clark

Tearfund Scotland Media and Communications Manager

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