Recovery continues in Pakistan
I visited Pakistan to report on Concern Worldwide's emergency response to the massive flooding there. It left an area the size of Italy underwater.
Dorothy Blane, Concern’s country director, briefed us on Concern's priorities and approach to this disaster.
Nearly 20 million people have been affected, with seven million in urgent need of shelter, food, water, seeds and tools. Repairs to infrastructure as well as permanent housing are urgently needed.
We saw the impact of the disaster and the ongoing humanitarian needs in Sindh and Punjab. The people there still face enormous needs and challenges.
Significant parts of Sindh are underwater, with only 30% of people displaced able to return to their homes. Silted soil has ruined the first post-flood harvest. Many of those who have returned to their villages are living in makeshift dwellings pending the construction of permanent homes.
In Punjab, most of the water has receded so the destroyed land has to be made productive again. The reconstruction process has begun in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province. The advent of winter makes the construction of solid housing crucial.
In the village of Basti Noon Wada, in Muzaffargah District in south Punjab, Concern gave 50kg bags of wheat and basic farming tools to 900 farming families. This was done before planting season ended. The distribution process managed to serve 500 people a day.
In the settlement camp of Sonda Eid Gab, in Thatta District in Sindh, 128 families are living in shelters near where their community stood at the river's edge. A wall is all that’s left of a once-thriving village. Concern built latrines to reduce health threats from poor sanitation and provided clean drinking water, along with hygiene education programmes. All of these are safeguarding an extremely vulnerable community against waterborne diseases and health risks.
Concern is also building latrines and plumbing for 200 families in the village of Abora Jakhro. The new hand pumps are the pride of the community. Nooran Merbahar, mother of five children, said:
Before we simply never thought about hygiene. We were plagued by mosquitoes, and we had to rely on dirty water. All of us got sick.
Read more of my experiences in Pakistan in The Huffington Post.