By Hina Gul, Human Resources Manager, SAWERA. September 2012.
Aftermath Still Felt
The aftermath of the summer 2010 floods continues to affect thousands of families across Pakistan.
Khyber Pukhtunkhwa (KPK), one of the provinces of Pakistan, was the first to face the disaster. Everyone has been affected badly. Community infrastructure, especially to highways and sources of communication, cut the region off from the rest of the country.
Access to safe and clean drinking water has been a high risk issue, especially for women and children. Due to unsafe drinking water, health issues occurred, and a number of diseases have spread throughout Pakistan.
District Charsadda was hit by the flood waters right in the initial phase of rainy season; the rivers within the district overflowed 10 times, resulting in grabbing the whole village across its banks.
In the absence of government response to the affected areas, Society for Appraisal & Women Empowerment in Rural Areas (SAWERA) with the support of Care International in Pakistan, intervened to provide immediate relief to the affected people.
The efforts of SAWERA covered the affected areas of District Charsada in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. A comprehensive relief programme was put together and the following activities have been completed by SAWERA that may prove the correct response in an emergency situation in any part of the country.
Water Collection Puts Women and Children in Danger
Floods not only washed away the infrastructure, but also left children and women in the most vulnerable situations; children and women witnessed vast destruction of the repeated disaster. In this miserable situation, women and children usually bear the burden of water collection from nearest sources, which is very hard and unprotected for both children and women. They have spent a lot of time walking to and from the waters sources, and as a result they became ill – which in turn also keeps them away from school and taking care of their families.
SAWERA specially focused on enabling women and children to have easy access to safe and clean drinking water, and other necessities of life as well. SAWERA selected five union councils (UCs) of District Charsada severely affected areas due to the flood. SAWERA had implemented WASH, LIVELIHOOD and DRR activities under the titled project:
Lands Destroyed and Diseases Spread
“Integrated Humanitarian for flood affected population towards livelihood restoration & meeting early recovery needs in District Charsada KP”
Heavy loss of agriculture lands has been destroyed and creates serious problems among community. The non-availability of safe drinking water resulted in cattle losing their vitality and ability to maintain a strong immune system. Many diseases have been spread in all affected areas like throat and chest infection, skin diseases, eye infections, etc.
SAWERA implemented activities under:
Water and Sanitation Hygiene (WASH)
- Installation of 50 Water Hand Pumps at communal level
- Construction/Restoration of four sanitation schemes
- Rehabilitation of four Govt. Water Supply Schemes
- 200 Health & Hygiene Sessions
- Provision of Cash Grant support to 250 farmers for the purchase of seed and fertilizers
- Capacity-building of 50 farmers on best agricultural practices
- Provision of Cash Grant to 75 women to revive their Livelihood
- Cash for Work (400 person/4800 person days)
Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR)
- Formation of 30 community-based organizations (CBOs)
- Capacity-building of CBOs members through 10 DRR Trainings
The project aim was the provision of safe and clean drinking water to the flood- affected communities of District Charsada, with particular concern for women and children to get safe and clean drinking water easily. Diseases from unsafe drinking water and lack of basic health and sanitation were the major issue during flood disaster. Children and women are the most vulnerable community in all disasters.
SAWERA has installed water hand pumps and rehabilitated sanitations schemes in District Charsada, and now the community – especially women and children, can get water from nearby sources easily. With safe and clean drinking water nearby, women are free to pursue new opportunities and improve their family’s lives. Children can get their education now without hurdles and can better their future.
People of District Charsada are really grateful to SAWERA and donors for implementing such projects, especially their concern for women and children, and they have asked for new projects in their areas for further improvement. For future planning, SAWERA also needs support from the national and international donors to meet their needs.
SAWERA will keep going in their activities for the better future of Pakistan. INSHALLAH.