Uncertainty grips Pakistan's flood survivors

Severe flooding in Pakistan has made thousands homeless and damaged crops.  Church World Service is providing food, shelter and medical care. With floodwaters drawing closer in and destroying crops, families in Umerkot District took refuge along roadsides and on higher ground while some are still trying to evacuate from their villages, a journey that can turn dangerous.

Radha and her husband, Poona are among the displaced in Mirp

Radha and her husband, Poona are among the displaced in Mirpurkhas District, Sindh.
Photo: Donna Fernandes, CWS

Rising flood waters in Pakistan’s Sindh province forced Visham, a father trying to protect his family, to ask difficult questions.

“It is like living in a jungle, we are afraid of snake and scorpion bites. How do we protect our children?” he said, from his camp in the district of Mirpurkhas. “Our beds and belongings have gone along with our house and the wheat stored for food. How do we feed our children?” 

Severe flooding in Pakistan has made thousands homeless and damaged crops.  Church World Service is providing food, shelter and medical care.  With floodwaters drawing closer in and destroying crops, families in Umerkot District took refuge along roadsides and on higher ground while some are still trying to evacuate from their villages, a journey that can turn dangerous.

“A vehicle ran down a mother and her infant on the road alongside their camp,” shared Saleem Dominic, a senior project officer in CWS's Pakistan/Afghanistan program. “Helping displaced communities is integral in any emergency response but the work will not be easy as such incidents make it worse.”

Across the district, the apparent signs of strain obscure the faces of displaced families who are among the poorest of the poor. As governments and humanitarian agencies respond to this latest disaster, the country, a year later, has yet to recover from the consequences of the 2010 floods.

With more than a fair share of disasters in Pakistan, the impacts are far-reaching with a massive loss of food production and livestock - which are the only assets of the landless. The displaced families had nothing much before the disaster and now are left with a lot more to worry about. Risks of living in appalling conditions, residing on roads, theft and insecurity are ever present.

“Some families have been robbed of their livestock in the district of Mirpurkhas,” one staff member working with a CWS Pakistan/Afghanistan local partner reports.

Even as bleak conditions force people to their limits, the insecurity of knowing where the next meal may come from is an incredible burden for Pakistan’s mothers, who already wrestle with so much in this crisis. “Women are worried about what to feed to children?” says Radha, displaced by the floods in Mirpurkhas.

The reality for those living in rural Sindh is far worse than anyone should have to bear. CWS-P/A and international aid agencies are doing their best to meet the immediate needs of affected families including food and temporary shelter. With such expansive losses, no homes, and no jobs, the affected population will face difficult survival and recovery challenges in addition to those already existing in Sindh.

(For additional details of the CWS response, see here.)

HOW TO HELP: Contributions to support CWS emergency response efforts may be made online, sent to your denomination, or to Church World Service, Appeal #699-Z, Pakistan (Sindh) Flooding, P.O. Box 968, Elkhart, IN 46515.

ACT Alliance  Church World Service is a member of the ACT Alliance, a global coalition of churches and agencies engaged in development, humanitarian assistance and advocacy.

Media Contact:
Lesley Crosson, 212-870-2676, lcrosson@churchworldservice.org
Jan Dragin, 781-925-1526, jdragin@gis.net


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