CAFOD’s Monika Vrsanska writes:
It has been two years since Pakistan was devastated by floods – 18 million people were affected and 2.2 million hectares of crops were wiped out.
In many villages, you’d be forgiven for wondering why, two years after the floods, whole families can still be found living in tents. Huge amounts of funds were given by the international community, aid agencies, individual benefactors and governments across the world to help with the relief effort. The generosity shown to each other by those affected by the floods was also astonishing. However, it has become apparent that, due of the scale of the disaster, it is likely to take years for people to recover.
Immediately after the first images of the devastation appeared in 2010 on TV screens across Britain, a year when Britain was also badly hit by floods, the donations started to pour in. In total, the British public donated £71million to the Disasters Emergency Committee, of which CAFOD is a member, and the Catholic community donated over £3.2 million directly to CAFOD. Thanks to these donations, eight of our local partners working in Pakistan have been able to reach over 370,000 people affected by the floods.
But the challenge is not only to reach as many people as possible, it is also to provide a measured response based on people’s need. In the third year since the flood, this is something that we are aiming to gain a better understanding of – as the impact of our partners’ initial work becomes clearer.
For instance, we know that by May of this year, the 400 goats we distributed to women in the Punjab district had produced 170 kids. The majority of women plan to sell the kids at the end of Ramadan – when the demand is high and they are likely to get the best possible price. What will be interesting to see is how the women decide how to spend the money they earn. These women have so little and they are often faced with a difficult choice between immediate food needs, seeds for future food production, education for their children, health care and putting money aside for the future. Prioritising how to spend the family’s income is not an easy task when choosing between all those essentials. Continue reading