Many thanks to our donors and supporters, who had helped ActionAid to reach more than 220,952 people in Pakistan since August 2010.
A story to share
82 years old Amir Bibi lives in Basti Chah Pahroi Wala, in South Punjab. She lives with three children two of whom are mentally challenged. None of her children has been to school due to poverty. Her 30 years old son Bilal is a daily wage earner whose meager income is hardly enough for the family to make both ends meet. He is the sole earner for a family of four and manages to earn less than a dollar a day.
The floods hit her village hard, washing away everything. “We could hardly save our lives. My son carried me through the water. Community people helped my ill children to get through the water.” She tells in a weak voice.
The family lived with their relatives for two weeks and when the water receded they returned to their village. “My son thought people would be returning and he might get some laboring job here. He was right in a way, people were returning, but they did not have any money to pay for laboring job. We had lost our house; there was no roof to sleep under.”
ActionAid reached the poor flood affected people with immediate support including food, plastic sheets for temporary shelter and household items. In Kot Adu tehsil of district Muzaffargarh, where floods had caused massive devastation, we provided cooked food and essential medical acre to 5500 families, and food and non food relief items to over 2000 households. However as people started to return to their homes, their main need was that of permanent shelter. With the financial support of I-CAP, ActionAid, through its local partner Hirrak Development Center provided cash and material support to 350 poorest households so that they could rebuild their homes.
Amir Bibi’s family was also selected for this much needed support. With the support of ActionAid, ICAP and Hirrak, Amir Bibi’s son and other community members constructed a one room house for the family.
Amir Bibi was happy that she had a place to live in and protect herself and her family from the harsh winters. “Look, this room is made of bricks and cement. Earlier my house was made of mud that is why floods washed it away. This one is really strong and good enough to keep us warm in this weather.” She shares happily.
As the response progressed, ActionAid moved to support people in rebuilding their lives. In Swat and Shangla, we supported 1,000 families with cash for work activities on agriculture and land rehabilitation. In Punjab, the focus of cash for work activities was on shelter. 750 households were supported to reconstruct houses, cash and material support was provided. In Sibi and Kashmore, 900 and 600 families respectively were supported to rebuild shelter/house. In Shahdadkot, we supported 500 families with cash for work for shelter reconstruction.
ActionAid Pakistan also established 9 women and child friendly canters in Sibi (Balochistan) and Kashmore (Sindh) where communities were engaged in informal sharing, education and awareness on protection and women’s rights issues. Street theatres were used, informal education for children was provided and recreational activities were organised such as drawing competitions, sports etc. In addition, capacity building sessions on protection issues were organised for staff and partners so that they could raise awareness of these issues amongst communities. Almost 450 women and 550 children directly benefitted from these centers.
Many thanks for being a great ActionAid supporter to help floods victims in Bihar. ActionAid’s long-term engagements were undertaken to restore livelihoods, create new jobs and build community resources in Bihar after one of the worst floods in its history. We focused our efforts on women and children. The villages that were worst affected had a large number of single women households, with men working in cities for the lack of livelihood.
“This foot-enabled machine allows me to stitch clothes faster than I used to, when I had a hand machine,” says Sarita Devi.
“I can now take many more orders and deliver them on time, which is helping me earn more money,” she adds.
Sarita, 40, mother of four children is a very happy and brimming with confidence of being able to become a bread-winner for the family, after her husband passed way. She received the foot sewing machine as a part of the livelihood initiative taken up my ActionAid Partner.
The cyclonic storm has swept the part of Bihar, West Bengal and Assam during mid-night of 14th April 2010 and left a trail of destruction along the path with at least 111 deaths and hundreds injured in eastern parts of Bihar and northern part of Bengal and Assam. "From the extent of twisted trees and poles, the depth of thundercloud and volume of devastation, it appears to be a tornado," said G C Debnath, Director, Regional Meteorological Centre, Alipore, "The casualties were high because the storm struck when people had retired for the night and were caught unaware.
ActionAid was in Supaul district where it was implementing rehabilitation program for Koshi floods survivors along with its two local partners. Some ActionAid’s operational areas were affected by the storm.
ActionAid was working closely with its partners to provide relief items, including drinking water, food and temporary shelters for storm victims.
ActionAid stood alongside with hundreds of landless and marginalized women and men marched on foot in Bihar to demand action on unfilled agenda of land reforms on December 25, 2010.
The poverty in Bihar, like elsewhere in India, is rooted in lack of control over land and the consequent feudal structure. This is reflected in Bihar having one of the lowest per capita incomes in India. Those who suffer denial of basic rights and atrocities are dalits, tribal and women, from the marginalized communities.
"The march passed through areas that have seen land struggles and dominated by upper castes land lords. The peaceful march came in as a new approach for the struggle for land to the landless," said ActionAid Bihar regional manager Vinay Ohdar.
Please visit our website at www.actionaidusa.org to find out more information about “Land March” in Bihar.
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Current situation for the areas where ActionAid is working:
Sindh Province: According to latest figures from the Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA), over 7.27 million people remain affected by the floods in Sindh povince. Nearly half of the affected population is from four districts: Dadu, Thatta, Jacocobad, and Qambar Shadadkot. Water is receding from parts of the province but large areas, mostly in Dadu and Jamshoro districts are expected to remain under water for up to six months. In these areas, prolonged relief assistance will be required.
Punjab Province: Over 4.9 million people were affected by the floods in 11 districts in Punjab. The three most affected districts are Muzaffargarh District (with nearly 36 percent of the total affected population), Rajanpur District (20 percent) and Mianwali District (13 percent). Figures from PDMA suggest that few camps remain in the province. Four of nine camps were recently closed. An estimated 7,000 people remain displaced due to the floods. However, a large majority of displaced people have returned to their areas of origin. Provision of shelter and restoration of livelihoods are therefore the key priorities. The provincial authority has announced that it will provide seed and fertilizers to small land holders.
Kyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK): Together with the provincial authorities, the humanitarian community is assessing conditions for the return of conflict-affected IDPs from South Waziristan and Orakzai districts. In follow up to a recent security and inter-cluster rapid needs assessment undertaken in South Waziristan, a Returns Intention Surveys (RIS) has been launched for those IDPs originating from South Waziristan as well as Orakzai where the Government envisages returns. An inter-agency returns task force has been established to ensure safe and voluntary returns of IDPs.
As November 2010, we have reached 18,188 families with immediate relief including food, NFIs, hygiene kits and fodder for livestock. We will be reaching 11,467 more households in next 5 months focusing on protection, psychosocial support and cash for work activities.
In Layyah and Kot Adu (South Punjab), we are supporting 300 extremely vulnerable families each in house construction by providing them Material and Cash for Work, the three month project started from November, 2010.
One year early recovery and rehabilitation project funded by AusAID project to support 2,600 families in Punjab has started in November, 2010 focusing on establishing women and child friendly spaces, providing goats and poultry to women to support their livelihood, supporting kitchen gardens for women and providing related trainings and support for women’s enterprise development (small shops and businesses).
Sindh’s Kashmore district is one of the worst affected area where ActionAid is helping flood affected communities in relief and early recovery. we are developing women and child friendly spaces in addition to using street theatre for community awareness on disaster preparedness, women’s rights and protection issues. A large number of schools have been damaged or destroyed in Kashmore (Sindh) due to which children’s education is hampered. Our Child friendly spaces are helping children learn and play under the supervision of trained facilitators who belong to the same area. These facilitators have been hired and trained by ActionAid.
Story from South Punjab:
45 years old Maqsood Mai, from Bait Wasava Shumali (Layyah District-south Punjab). Maqsood Mai’s mud house collapsed and was washed away in the floods. She received food, mattresses and hygiene kit from Avaaz funded project which ActionAid carried out through local partner Participatory Welfare services. Four months after the floods, Maqsood Mai has managed to re-construct one room where she puts her children to sleep.She says “after the floods washed away my house no one came to my help except Avaaz and ActionAid. They gave us food, mattresses and sheets. Now I have managed to build one room with whatever money I had. I hope ActionAid will help me build one more room for my large family.” Maqsood Mai’s household has been selected for shelter support and soon she will be provided cash and raw material for constructing an additional room to accommodate her large family.“Now my family needs a roof as winters are approaching and if my children sleep in the open, I fear the may catch a cold and fall ill.”