Pakistan Floods: 6 Months On

First appeared on Ctrl.Alt.Shift on 27 January 2011

Amy Hall reports back on what is happening in Pakistan since the massive floods that hit the country six months ago and on what Christian Aid has been doing to help the people affected…

Six months ago Pakistan was hit with flooding which killed 2000 people and left a fifth of the country underwater.

Since then people have been trying to rebuild their communities in a recovery which has been predicted to takeyears. With food prices rising and mass unemployment, life has been hard for the 20 million people affected by the flooding.

Much of the world was slow to pick up on how much devastation the country was facing and some decided to focus on the negativity surrounding how the President was dealing with the situation. Instability caused by the flooding has also led to concerns about the already insecure situation in Pakistan. Despite the slow start however, Christian Aid’s Neill Garvie told us that NGO work in Pakistan has been well coordinated with effective communication mechanisms in place.

Christian Aid has been working with its partners in Pakistan as part of ACT Alliance, a group of 105 organisations working in humanitarian assistance and development worldwide. Christian Aid has raised £4.8million to help the victims of the flooding, and assifrom those funds has reached 15, 460 households so far.

Emily Reilly from Christian Aid visited Pakistan in the months following the floods. She spoke to women affected by the disaster who told her one of most useful things they had received were female specific hygiene kits and mobile medical units with female and male doctors. In the aftermath of the flooding, diseases associated with lack of hygiene became more prevalent as conditions were cramped and many people were living in makeshift shelters by the roadside. Women were suffering from hygine related diseases at a higher rate than men as, because of the conservative culture and lack of facilities, women could not find private spaces in which to wash and keep clean.
In the future, Christian Aid’s partners will keep up their efforts to provide food, shelter, water, sanitation and healthcare to people in the region, whilst also working on disaster risk reduction and helping people to have more secure livelihoods. If this strategy is continued, if Pakistan should face a similar disaster in the future, the devastation will be more manageable.

Christian Aid have also joined in partnership with Muslim Hands, an organisation working to help rebuild a village made up of Hindus, Christians and Muslims, a circumstance unusual in Pakistan. The country is 95% Muslim, and most of the other 5% are Hindus and Christians.

“We’re really excited about this partnership,” Neill Garvie told us. “The aim of this project is about making sure people have somewhere to live, but if another outcome is that people share and participate with each other more across faiths then that’s great.”

“I think situations like this demonstrate that although you can have conflicts between religions, at the end of the day these kinds of disasters affect everyone equally. Whatever background you come from it doesn’t matter and it can bring people together.”

It is hoped that development and disaster reduction projects like this will not only help Pakistan recover from the devastation the flooding has caused, but also help to foster unity amongst its people and lay the foundations for a more stable future.

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