Pakistani Homes Reduced to Mud, Says Caritas

Stresses Need to Affirm Flood Victims’ Human Dignity

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ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, SEPT. 1, 2010 ( Thousands of homes have been reduced to mud after weeks of heavy flooding in Pakistan, but the families are still sticking by the mounds they once lived in, reported Caritas.

Chaudhry Kamran, an aid worker with Caritas Pakistan, spoke about his experience and eyewitness account of the plight of flood victims after a heavy monsoon season.

«When the intense rains began to hit the south of Punjab, I went to the flooded areas,» he recalled. «In the bus, we were all very worried for the people we passed by, living in improvised shelters. In no way could the tents resist the strong winds.»
«No one knew what would happen,» the aid worker said.

He noted that the latest U.N. estimates state that at least 17.2 million people have been affected by the floods, and more than 1,600 people have already died. Thousands more have been affected by diseases of the skin and stomach due to unsanitary conditions and waterborne illnesses.
Kamran noted that «the United States and other countries worldwide have promised more than $700 million to help those affected in Pakistan,» and «the International Monetary Fund is studying all the possible ways to help the country.»
However, he added that «these efforts were too slow for Bela Khan.»

«Survivors waited for foreign aid for about two weeks after this village was submerged in water,» Kamran explained, but Caritas was the first to arrive there.


They brought tents to shelter the families whose homes are submerged.

The aid worker observed that the villagers «are not willing to abandon their homes, now turned into a mound of mud.»

He continued: «Many families continue to live on the slope of an embankment with the hope that the waters will soon recede.

«Before Caritas’ tents arrived, the shelters on this embankment only had charpoys (fabric to make beds), supported by large drums or plastic sheets covered by branches.»
«Despair is reflected on all faces on television screens,» Kamran said.

He noted that «a relief package in general lasts two days in a family of six, a typical village family unit.»

«However,» he continued, «to bring knowledge and tools such as sewing machines can help to restore confidence and hope among the survivors.»

The aid worker concluded with an appeal: «Although food and clothing continue to be a great need, the world must think of ways to help them live with dignity.»

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