By Mariely Neris Rodriguez, CRS Pakistan
In mid‐August, 2010, heavy rains caused waves of floodwater to travel down the Indus River, causing unimaginable devastation throughout Pakistan’s northern Sindh Province. Hundreds of thousands of people in Sindh had to flee from their homes, leaving behind everything they owned. Most people returned to find their homes and lands destroyed and still under water, and their few possessions, including livestock and homes, gone.
Fifty-year-old Kamal had little warning of the floodwaters heading towards his village in August 2010. “We received a call from our relatives two hours before the flood water arrived. We had no vehicle, so we had to leave everything behind,” Mr. Kamal says, pointing around a sparsely furnished hut where the family of 8 is living. They fled to a neighboring town, where they lived under the open sky for one month before a friend lent them a tent. It would be another month and a half, until November of 2010, before they went home.
Born and raised in a small village in the Pakistani district of Jacobabad, Kamal has worked as a tenant farmer and a shepherd his entire life. The village is also where he married his wife, Feroza, and where his six children were born.
The land was still flooded when they returned, and Mr. Kamal recalls how they had to sleep under the open sky for another month, until the waters receded. The twenty goats and eight cows the family shepherded were gone, as were all their crops. “We didn’t have any food, and had to survive through food donations provided by different organizations.” His youngest daughter, now four-months-old, was born during this chaos.
With support from CRS, Kamal and his family received a voucher for wheat and vegetable seeds and a cash grant, which they used to pay for the rental cost of a farm tractor and the oil for the tube well used to water the land. The entire family helped to plant the seeds, and now they are maintaining the wheat crops and vegetable garden. The crops are doing well, and they are planning to use them for personal household consumption and to sell for profit. Their hope is to use their profits to pay off the loans accumulated from the harvest they lost to the floods and also to buy new animals and farming tools. Part of the profits would also be used to pay for any necessary family health expenses.
Kamal and his family are very grateful for the assistance received. “If we had not received your help, we would have had to borrow more loans from our landlord and vendors, and add to an already unmanageable debt with 25% interest rates.” Most importantly, Mr. Kamal says he thanks God and CRS for the assistance received because it will give him the opportunity to take care of what is most important, his family.
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