Posts Tagged ‘Pakistan’

Pakistan Flood Survivors Praise Shelter Project

Friday, August 26th, 2011
Pakistan woman

Balaneeshta, a widow, stands in the doorway of her new home. With funding from Caritas partners, CRS constructed warm, insulated shelters that could stand up to the mountain region’s winter cold. Photo by Laura Sheahen/CRS

“I was milking a cow when I heard about the flood,” says Balaneeshta, an elderly widow living in mountainous northern Pakistan. “People from far away were whistling loudly to us and saying ‘run!’”

As the rains of summer 2010 poured down and the river near their homes surged higher, Balaneeshta and her neighbors ran up the mountains to safety. “Because of the mud, it was hard to climb,” she says. “Our feet sank deep. Trees and rocks were sliding down.” Nearby, her relative Nizamullah carried his disabled mother up the hill.

Balaneeshta, her neighbors, and her many children and grandchildren escaped. But the flood days were only the beginning of their problems. With homes completely washed away, villagers slept outside for days. They received tents, but not always enough of them.

Drinking Water for Pakistan Flood Survivors

Friday, July 29th, 2011
Pakistan water

CRS engineer, Shoaib provides technical supports to the villagers for the rehabilitation of drinking water scheme damaged by flood disaster in Shangla district in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan. This programming is in response to the floods that hit Pakistan last summer. Photo by Asad Azid for CRS

When massive floods engulfed many regions of Pakistan in summer 2010, existing water and electrical systems were brought down. With funding from Catholics in the United States, Caritas partners, and other donors, Catholic Relief Services has built or repaired water systems that serve thousands of people. CRS is also creating a small, water-fed power plant to bring electricity to remote areas.

Engineer Abdul Rashid, Senior Technical Advisor for CRS Pakistan, spoke about the project while in Besham, a city in mountainous northern Pakistan.

What engineering projects is CRS doing to help people hurt by the flood?

CRS has “drinking water supply schemes”—basically repairing broken water systems so poor people have clean water to drink. Even high up in the mountains where the floodwaters couldn’t reach, the rains were so severe that the pipe systems were destroyed.

CRS also has repaired things like bridges, pathways, and irrigation channels. We’ve built or repaired more than 100 systems.

Flood Anniversary: Rapid Response Helps Pakistan Survivors

Tuesday, July 19th, 2011
Pakistan girl

This girl is among the survivors of Pakistan’s 2010 summer flooding. CRS built 1,500 transitional houses in northern Pakistan alone. Photo by Laura Sheahen/CRS

“The water got so high that I carried my two-week-old grandson up the ladder to the roof,” says Marhaba Ahmad, a woman living in mountainous northern Pakistan. It was summer 2010, and floodwaters were about to engulf the house she’d lived in for over 30 years. As the rains poured down and the white water rose higher, the grandmother of eight started scrambling up the steep slopes of a 9,000-foot-high mountain.

“When we were climbing, many stones were falling,” she remembers. “The rocks hurt our hands. Our shoes got stuck in the mud and we lost them.” With hands, knees and feet shredded by needle-thorned plants and rough boulders, Marhaba and her large extended family scrabbled up while trees and rubble slid down.

Rebuilding After Massive Flooding in Pakistan

Monday, January 24th, 2011
Rebuilding Pakistan

CRS has built thousands of houses following last summer’s floods. Photo by CRS staff.

Six months after the worst flooding in decades swallowed up homes and crops throughout Pakistan, Catholic Relief Services has completed several large-scale projects to help survivors rebuild. As of late January 2011, CRS has:

  • Built 3,582 transitional shelters for families made homeless; over 15,000 more shelters are planned
  • Distributed urgently-needed items like sleeping mats, rope, buckets, soap, and mosquito nets to 24,116 households–an estimated 160,780 people
  • Completed 101 community infrastructure projects, such as repairing irrigation pipeline or fixing bridges, to serve 183,649 people
  • Given seeds and other agricultural support to 11,311 farming households who lost crops

With your help, Pakistanis whose homes and fields were wiped out have been able to start over.

“Thousands of families in the areas most affected by the floods are now in homes and have been able to plant in time for the wheat season, which will provide them and their families an income at harvest time,” says Jack Byrne, Country Representative of CRS Pakistan. “Through the dedication and commitment of our staff and partners, we’ve made significant progress in helping families and communities. We plan to provide needed assistance for as long as it takes.”

New Shelter Comforts Pakistani Woman Widowed by Flood

Tuesday, January 11th, 2011
Shelters in Pakistan

Soomri, a 75-year-old mother of five and grandmother of 23, sits inside her new CRS transitional shelter. Photo by Jessica Howell / CRS

CRS Program/Advocacy Officer Jessica Howell recently left Chicago to visit CRS’ relief projects in flood-stricken Pakistan. Here, she describes one woman’s indomitable spirit.

“Ours was a love marriage,” recalls Soomri, a frail woman with almond-shaped eyes that seem to dance when she thinks about her youth. “He was the only literate man in town,” she says of her husband, “and we were both favored by our parents.”

The 75-year-old mother of five and grandmother of 23 lives in a small village in the northeast corner of Pakistan’s Sindh province. She loves to tell stories. She talks about her village, the weather and her children. But mostly she talks about her husband.

A wistful smile comes to her face as she recounts a story from years ago, when she stumbled across a large cabinet for sale while wandering through the local market. She was instantly taken by the piece of furniture, but it was expensive. Later that night, she told her husband about the cabinet but assured him that she knew it cost too much. But two days later, “the cabinet just appeared in my home!” she recounts, in an animated tone that makes it easy to imagine her surprise and joy all those years ago. It’s been a prized possession of hers ever since.

Pakistanis Rebuild with Help of CRS

Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010

CRS Pakistan has committed to helping 2,600 families in northern Pakistan and 22,000 families in a southern area called Sindh build transitional shelters. Photo by Maria Josephine Wijiastuti / CRS.

As Pakistanis struggle to recover after the summer’s devastating floods, CRS Pakistan has committed to helping 2,600 families in the north and 22,000 families build transitional shelters in a southern area called Sindh. As of early November 2010, almost 250 households in Sindh had been helped. Maria Josephine Wijiastuti filed the following report from Pakistan.

Haran Dhanglo and her husband are farmers who work for a landlord in Noor Mohammad village, which was badly affected by the August 2010 flood. When the flood hit, she and her family moved away for two months. With their three children, they lived in tents with her neighbors and other people who were evacuated.

“It was really a difficult life, but we had no choice,” she says. “The flood washed away our homes and our villages—we lost everything. Now that the water has receded, my family has returned to the village.”

Helping Pakistani farmers recover from floods: The CRS response

Thursday, September 23rd, 2010

The recent flooding in Pakistan has been a disaster for farmers. Many families lost their crops as well as their homes, seed stores, stables and livestock. Farmers throughout the flood-affected areas need to plant wheat during the October/November planting season, but where and how will they get the seed?

CRS recently completed a seed assessment to determine current conditions and how farm families will be able to access the seed they will need.

Although the current flooding has had a devastating impact on rural livelihoods, we know that markets continue to function and that farmers are best placed to manage their own recovery. To assist, CRS proposes to issue eligible farmers with vouchers that they can redeem for wheat and other seed from suppliers they trust. In addition to ensuring that farmers get good seed, this approach puts money into the local economy.

You can read a technical report on this seed assessment and CRS’ response here.

CRS Works to Provide Clean Water in Pakistan

Wednesday, September 15th, 2010

There’s a joke making the rounds of cell phones at Pakistani universities these days. The professor asks, “What’s the chemical formula for water?” A student writes ‘H2MgClNaClHNO3’ on the board. “You idiot,” snaps the professor, “The symbol for water is just H2O.” The student: “Not if it’s floodwater.”

Far from university classrooms, in remote villages of Pakistan, the joke is a grim reality. After floodwaters swallowed up homes, chickens, latrines, and more, the available drinking water—from tainted wells or springs—is making people sick. Children are particularly at risk: in many places where Catholic Relief Services works, parents say their kids are suffering from much more diarrhea.

“So many animals died in that water.”Jenna, a 40-year-old mother of three, nods towards a newly-formed lake fifty feet from her makeshift tent in a region called Thatta. “And it smells.” Jenna and her husband know they need to get safe water for their three children. A hand pump with good water is not far away, but the way there is itself flooded. Men in the tent camp swim across, fill plastic bottles and pots, and push them back across the bad water on a small piece of wood.

Building the Road to Recovery in Pakistan

Friday, September 10th, 2010

“I saw one patient, an old man, being carried on a stretcher,” says a Catholic Relief Services staffer in mountainous northern Pakistan. “He told me they hiked 5 to 6 hours over steep terrain, carrying him.”

The normal roads that people would have taken were cut off by the massive flooding that struck Pakistan in summer 2010, along with the landslides that followed. For CRS staff watching exhausted villagers trek for hours to clinics or food markets, it was a spur to action: “We need to provide access to the main road.”

Catholic Relief Services teams quickly assessed the most important paths, bridges, and roads that needed repair. By paying local men to do the work, CRS also helped families who had lost their crops or shops to the flooding and have no other source of income.

Building Shelters in Pakistan

Tuesday, September 7th, 2010
Transitional Shelter in Pakistan

CRS is building transitional shelters like this one for Pakistanis coping with flood damage in northern Pakistan. Photo by Laura Sheahen / CRS

As CRS employees in northern Pakistan stood on the office porch watching the floodwater rise, they also videotaped a nearby building. Through the pouring rain, I see a ragged chunk of the wall being eaten away, as if the water were taking bites out of it. Then, within the space of a few minutes, the roof began sliding down. It was all over in a half hour.

After a day of waiting, the staff eventually made it home, using ropes as they walked through waist-high water to get to safer ground. The CRS office survived undamaged, but across the region, hundreds of houses collapsed. A few feet in front of the office, what had been fields was a floodplain.