Monday, August 30, 2010

Pakistanis still in homes have other needs

Since the flooding the Pakistan government has put a priority on giving aid to the homeless. Many who still have homes have not been helped since the floods began. While they may still have a roof over their heads, they might be without clean water or food.

From this Reuters article, writers Myra MacDonald and Kamran Haider give us a few examples.

Muzamel is just five days old and sleeps peacefully under a makeshift mosquito net, blissfully unaware that her family home is now an island, still surrounded by water one month after the floods hit.

It is a half-hour journey by army motor boat to reach the village of Kot Bodla, across a giant lake which has submerged the family's livelihood -- its cotton and wheat fields -- below five or six feet of water.

Since the floods came, the 30 or so people in the extended family who live here have been cut off, living off their animals and what stocks of food they had, and crowding into the buildings which were not destroyed or dangerously damaged.

"The water came in the night. It was raining," says Lal Bai, the baby's grandmother. "One by one, houses began to collapse. I was so scared and worried about the children; I thought the water was going to come and wash them away. We moved the children from room to room to save their lives.

Since then, nobody has come to help them.

Here in Rajanpur district of south Punjab, some 700,000 people fled their homes. With many of the people who fled stranded on embankments with nothing, the army says it had to give priority to the homeless.

Lal Bai's daughter gave birth without hope of medical help - a girl who now sleeps tightly bound in a green scarf, three black dots smeared on her forehead to keep away evil spirits.

Her family has little idea what the future holds after such terrible floods -- even in all the stories of their ancestors they had heard of nothing like this.

They know the immediate future will be hard. The cotton was just three weeks away from being picked when the floods hit. They do not expect to be able to sow wheat in the winter. They do not have enough food for their goats, sheep and buffalo.

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