Thursday, September 30, 2010

Pakistan flood victims struggle to rebuild alone

Dawn via AFP (Pakistan): As a donkeycart owner who lost everything in Pakistan's devastating floods, Jan Pervez is broke but says he has borrowed heavily to rebuild his home. Fed up waiting for government cash, the 44-year-old is sourcing bricks and cement to knock up a one-room shelter to protect the seven members of his family from the onset of winter and diseased refugee camps.

Barefoot and in rags, the family last saw their home on July 29, when they fled heavy monsoon rain and rising floodwaters with only the clothes on their backs, swapping their independence for a life of misery. When they returned a month later, practically nothing was left in the village of Hassan Abad. On the outskirts of the northwestern city of Nowshehra, the area is one of the worst affected in Pakistan's worst natural disaster.

The United Nations has issued a record two-billion-dollar appeal for funds to deal with the aftermath of the disaster, which UN agencies say affected 21 million people and left 12 million in need of emergency food aid. Floodwaters have receded but left small children, women and the elderly battling to survive on food handouts in refugee camps on roadsides, increasingly angry at a government they say has failed them.

…Amal Masud, spokeswoman for Pakistan's National Disaster Management Authority, told AFP that the organisation had started handing out the first installments of government cash payments in the northwest this week. “This is the first installment. The government will provide a total of 100,000 rupees to all the flood victims,” she said.

While people were welcome to use the money towards rebuilding their homes, the NDMA was still concentrating on emergency aid. “At the moment we are in the rehabilitation and relief phase. The reconstruction phase will start from January next year,” she said….

By mid-August, the extreme monsoon floods that had overwhelmed northwestern Pakistan had traveled downstream into southern Pakistan. The top image, acquired by the Landsat 5 satellite on August 12, 2010, shows flooding near Kashmor, Pakistan, just before the second wave of the flood hit. The lower image, provided for context, shows the region on August 9, 2009.

No comments: