06 August 2010

Pakistan: A long road ahead for Nasreen

  1. At a World Vision distribution site in Nowshera, Pakistan, food packages are distributed to some 1,000 f
  2. Nasreen and her children sit in the classroom that has become their home since their house was destroyed b
  3. Nasreen receives a food parcel during a World Vision distribution in Nowshera, Pakistan, on 5 Aug 2010.

Just over a week ago, Nasreen, her husband Rasi and their three children lived in a mud house near the river in Mohib Banda, a village in Nowshera, KPK, Pakistan.

That house no longer exists.

When torrential rains began to fall, the first thing to flood was the river. Soon, water was rapidly rising towards the roof of their small home. They rushed to the local school, the tallest building in their neighbourhood.

For three long, hungry days they were crammed on the rooftop with more than 100 other people, exposed to the elements and waiting to be rescued; or at least for something to eat.

Finally, a military helicopter dropped food supplies. Later that day, the family was airlifted to higher ground, out of the reach of the still swirling torrent of mud and water.

Nasreen and her children are now taking refuge in a makeshift displacement camp in a high school, living in a classroom with about fifty other people. The heat is unbearable and so is the stench.

A glimmer of hope came Thursday, when World Vision visited the school to distribute food and water. Nasreen appreciated the assistance, but was also touched by the human contact with the aid workers.

“We have been living on the charity of the locals and the surrounding villages for now,” said Nasreen. “You are the first people who have approached us, and you’ve given us the food and water with dignity,” she told the World Vision staff.

World Vision’s distribution that day reached some 1,000 families with food parcels containing milk, bread, snacks, biscuits and water. The parcels are benefiting around 7,000 people.

The water has now receded from Nasreen’s village. In its wake it has left mud like quicksand, littered with the debris of ruined homes.

For families like Nasreen’s, it won’t be a matter of cleaning up but of rebuilding from scratch. The family lost their two cows in the floods and are not sure how they will replace them to recover their livelihood. Cows are valuable assets in poor communities.

“I don’t know what we will do now,” said Nasreen. “We were poor already and lost whatever we had in the floods; our only shelter and means of income. Where do we go from here?”

In the coming days World Vision plans to scale up its distributions, to reach more families with food, water, cooking sets, hygiene kits and shelter kits.

Once the immediate relief phase is over, World Vision will shift its focus to long term recovery.

To donate to our Pakistan floods appeal, click here.