Shelter kits, funded by UKaid from the Department for International Development (DFID) and delivered by Save the Children, are helping people affected by the flooding in Pakistan.
Nadeem, 13, lives in the village of Girlagan in north-western Pakistan. Girlagan has 200 households and is situated on the banks of River Swat near the city of Bahrain, a famous tourist destination.
Nadeem’s father is unemployed but his eldest brother runs a small shop in Quetta city to support the family. They used to live in a small, 2 room mud house. They could not afford to build a brick and steel structure.
On 28 July 2010, unprecedented monsoon rains caused flash floods in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, including Swat. Areas bordering the river Swat were hit with vast torrents of the flood waters, causing widespread destruction of life and property. Due to its location, the village of Girlagan and the surrounding areas of Bahrain city were one of the worst hit areas in Swat.
“Water started entering my home in the afternoon,” remembers Nadeem, “people were saying that we should leave since the river would destroy everything in its path.”
In the next few hours, Nadeem’s family gathered their precious items and ran to a neighbour’s house uphill. At midnight, the river Swat roared into Girlagan and destroyed the entire street where Nadeem’s house was located. Since then, they have been living in a generous neighbour’s house but were still barely making ends meet. Their few savings went on purchasing expensive food items from the bazaar in nearby Bahrain city.
“My mother bundled up our clothes but we lost all our household items.” said Nadeem. “Because I was taking care of my younger brothers and sisters, I was only able to grab my schoolbag. My entire collection of storybooks and cricket bats washed away in the flood.”
A few days ago, Save the Children’s teams assessed the damage in Girlagan and selected the neediest families in the area for distribution of DFID-funded tents and non-food item kits, to provided them with emergency shelter and basic domestic utensils. Since they had lost their home, Nadeem’s family was immediately selected to receive this shelter support.
“We left Girlagan yesterday and walked for four hours to reach Fatehpur.” said Nadeem’s father. “We arrived here early this morning and were surprised to find tents being distributed to those who had been selected in Girlagan and other villages.”
After checking their identity cards, and registering them, Save the Children handed over the shelter items to Nadeem and his father and also provided a small amount in cash to assist them in transport of the materials.
“Thank god that we can make our own temporary house now.” Nadeem’s father said. “This is a blessing for my family.”
These are the first relief items that Nadeem’s family has received as yet.
Nadeem is also relieved, “I am now hopeful that we can rebuild our home and continue our lives as before.”
Words and pictures supplied by Save the Children.