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2010 Pakistan flooding

Homes and livelihoods washed away

Man in wheelchair (polio) during Pakistan flooding 2010
Meer (right) with Dr. Shahnawaz, Disability Program Manager for CHEF, in the IDP (internally displaced persons) camp in Karachi

Pakistan's 2010 flooding has affected millions, but it is those who have disabilities who are often hardest hit. Meer (pictured above) is one example. Although he contracted polio as a child, he was self-sufficient before his house and means of income was washed away. He and his family now live in a temporary camp 600km from home.

Before the flooding

Meer is 50 years old. He was diagnosed with polio at a young age and – prior to the recent flooding – lived in a house with 10 members of his extended family in Jacobabad.

He was financially independent. He owned a horse cart and used to drive people around to earn a living - roughly 500 Pakistani rupees per day.

The flooding, and forced relocation

IDP tents ©CBM
The IDP camp in the grounds of the Abdul Razak Government Boys Degree College, Karachi
When the flooding happened, although nobody from his family was killed, they lost everything: sheep and cattle, crops, home, and all their personal belongings. Meer lost his horse – it ran off – and his cart was washed away.

The entire family made their way to the IDP (internally displaced persons) camp in Karachi, over 600km away in northern Sindh Province.

Located on the grounds of the Abdul Razak Government Boys Degree College, the camp is home to more than 8,000 IDPs, 180 of whom have disabilities.

Temporary aid

Meer, unable to walk because of polio, in his wheelchair with a sack of food aid in the IDP (internally displaced persons) camp in Karachi ©CBM
Meer in the IDP (internally displaced persons) camp in Karachi
At this camp CBM partner CHEF distributes basic food packs (to date for about 315 families of five) for 7-10 days, consisting of flour, rice, cooking oil, sugar, milk, pulses, and other items.

Meer was pleased to receive the food assistance and to have a place to live, but when asked if he was looking forward to the day he could go home he said “Why would I want to go home, there is nothing left there for us."

“I don’t know what the future holds for us now, I guess we will live in the camp as long as we can.”

When asked if he has any hope for the future he said “I have lost my hope of a future and don’t want to leave Karachi because there is nothing for me to go back home too.”

Long term help from CBM and CHEF

Currently CBM and CHEF are providing food, water, shelter and medical services/medicines to more than 15,000 people living with a disability and their families in three communities (Cheena, Shinkay and Mizader).

CBM and partner organisation CHEF are also going to provide these people with tools to clear the debris from their homes/land and seed and tools so they can plant crops before the end of September.

If the farmers can plant a crop before the end of September, they will be able to harvest it before the end of the year, earning money to get back on their feet and rebuild their lives.

CBM and CHEF plan to rebuild 1000 homes and 3 schools in those communities and will also build a new hospital to serve those living in the rural communities (they didn’t have one before the flood).

The Regional Government has also asked CBM/CHEF to expand our current programmes to assist another 10,000 people in three other communities in the north (Muslimabad, Syedabad and Agra).

The goal is to continue to support these 25,000+ flood survivors with food, water, shelter, medical services while helping them rebuild their homes and plant crops over the next six months while they get their lives back on track.

Future dangers

Meer’s family came to the Karachi IDP camp because they didn’t know where else to go and thought Karachi would be safe – it is the capital of Sindh Province with a population of 18 million.

But the camp is located on a local river, and if the flood waters from the Indus River are pushed back by the Arabian Sea, which is currently experiencing high tide, the river could overflow its banks and the camp would be flooded too.

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