In search of clean drinking water in flood affected areas of Rajan Pur. Samuel Clement/Caritas Pakistan
When the tidal wave hit Rahimyar Khan in the southern part of the Punjab province, Pakistan, it ripped everything away – communities, homes, and livelihoods.
The people in the region have retreated to dams which are kilometres long and wait for help there. There’s water to the left, there’s water to the right. The villages have been destroyed completely.
The fields are still flooded. The muddy water sticks to the mango trees. At least 90 percent of the working population earned their living with agriculture, such as sugar cane, cotton, rice and mangos. What was once a fertile landscape is now suffocated by water and masses of mud.
A large number of goats and cows, which represented the basic income of many people, have died in the floods. Only some of the water buffalos survived. The people still depend on food packages which are being distributed by Caritas. Too many children still do not get enough or nothing to eat.
“The hygienic conditions for the people are disastrous. The children suffer the most. Almost all of them have skin diseases, their bodies are covered in insect bites and they are malnourished or suffer from diarrhoea. Good medical and hygienic care is urgently needed,” said Monika Kalcsics of Caritas Austria.
Within the district Rahimyar Khan, Our partners have distributed food packages, water purifying tablets, medication and tents to 500 families, and hope to reach another 500 families in the next few days. The tents are on elevated, narrow causeways. Some areas are broad and dry enough so a number of tents can be positioned next to each other.
People are also being given information on simple hygienic measures which can prevent health risks, especially the correct use of water purifying tablets.
It is still a huge task logistically to reach all the people in the flood areas. In large parts of the country, it’s still not possible to get aid through to people.
Thomas Preindl of Caritas Austria, also in the area, said, “We hope that the water recedes so we can get to these areas. It will still take weeks and months to do so. We still need every support we can get: every single donation is important.”
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This article is an edited version or an article which first appeared on the Caritas blog.