Pakistan: Rebuilding after floods

Rebuilding homes in Pakistan in 2011

This is not my first visit to Sindh in southern Pakistan. But the last time I was here it was summer. Strong monsoon rains have inundated vast areas while I’ve been away. Since September, about 4.8 million people have had to leave their homes because of flooding.

Rehabilitation and resilience

This is not the first time this has happened either. Unfortunately, devastating floods already occurred in 2010 and 2011. With the support you gave then, CARE and its local partner Root Works Foundation (RWF) are helping people who had already lost the few belongings, livestock or crops they had to the floods. Many of these people have suffered again this year.

After the water recedes, paths and roads need to be rehabilitated, ideally raised above the flood level so that they won’t get inundated by the next floods. CARE and RWF employ unskilled labourers from affected families to do rehabilitation work in their villages. Of course they get paid to do this, which provides them with an income at a difficult time. The project is supported by the European Commission’s Office for Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection.

Rebuilding, better

When I visited the village Nor Khan Chadia today, men and women were repairing the path that connects the village to the main road, raising it higher than before. They told me that this helped them in two ways: firstly, they can provide for their families and, secondly, they can help to repair the village’s infrastructure. The Government of Pakistan is overwhelmed by assisting the mass of people affected by the floods. This could not have happened without CARE and RWF’s support.

Supporting mothers and elderly and disabled people

Of course, there are people who need support but are not able to do physical labour, such as single mothers, elderly people or those living with disabilities. These vulnerable people receive a cash grant to help them back on their feet. In order to participate these people take part in a one-day relevant training session. For example mothers are trained in health and hygiene, where they learn how to prepare their baby’s meal or store food and water in a hygienic way. I joined them for a demonstration of best hand-washing practices and the women participating told me they found it very useful.

I hope that the raised paths will help the people of Nor Khan Chadia during the next monsoon season. Perhaps they will still be able to get to the nearby market, school and health centre when the next floods come. A lot more remains to be done to protect them against the risk of flooding – but this project is a good first step.

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News and stories are provided by CARE staff working to support our emergency responses and long-term development programmes.