Archive for the Pakistan Category

Pakistan Floods: A Trip to Southern Sindh Province

Posted on Friday, February 3rd, 2012 at 1:31 pm

By Emily Bradley, Program Support Officer (PSO)

Bakhtwar sits proudly in front of her small shop which she reopened with the support of Concern after the floods washed it away. Jamshoro District, Sindh. Photo: Emily Bradley

Driving through Southern Sindh province in Pakistan on a bright, sunny day in early December 2011, it is difficult to imagine the catastrophic scale of the destruction caused by the floods of 2010. Beyond the bounds of the irrigated sites, the land is now dry and dusty and the heat is immense. As I meet with Concern’s beneficiaries and partner organizations, it is all too clear however, that, although the flood waters have receded, their devastating legacy lingers.

In August and September 2010, villages across Jamshoro district were entirely submerged in water. We all recall the media images of the floods in Pakistan, but it is often difficult to fully comprehend the extent and reality of the devastating impact until you speak with those who were directly affected. Imagine losing everything you ever possessed; imagine fleeing your home with your children to save your lives; imagine watching as the mud walls and thatch roof of your home and business disintegrate in the floodwaters before your eyes.

Now try and imagine all of this as a severely disabled mother of eight. Read the rest of this entry »

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Rebuilding Lives: Empowering Communities in Pakistan

Posted on Friday, September 23rd, 2011 at 1:10 pm

Jamaldin aged 77, from the village of Sodhari Masjid, outside Hyderabad, in Sindh Province, Pakistan. Photo: Concern Worldwide

By Joan Bolger, Communications Officer, US

Jamaldin aged 77, and a grandfather with nine children of his own, now lives in a house with 17 of his extended family. His home is located in the small village of Sodhari Masjid, a two-hour drive from the town of Hyderabad, in Sindh Province, Pakistan. Jamaldin has two acres of land to call his own and he cultivates it with his family to support the household. They are among the lucky ones.

The majority of families in the village work as share croppers. They keep holdings of up to four acres for various different landlords that take one-third of the profit of all harvests. When asked if this is the norm, Pervez Iqbal, an agriculturalist working with Root Work Foundation (RWF), a close partner of Concern’s in Sindh says, “Not all five fingers are the same,” meaning that there are some land owners that treat their laborers well. Read the rest of this entry »

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Pakistan’s Secret Weapon: Lady Health Visitors

Posted on Tuesday, August 16th, 2011 at 3:09 pm

By Joan Bolger, Communications Officer, Concern Worldwide US

3-year-old Zahida with son Sanam at the Concern-run Oral Therapeutic Care center in Rahuja Village, Sindh Province. Photo: Pakistan, Concern Worldwide

13-year-old Zahida tells me she cried through the night when her father came back from an evening of gambling and told her he had found a suitor for her in marriage. “I was used as the payment. He insisted because he had no other money to give,” she explained, clutching her 12-month-old son Sanam at a Concern-run center established to treat malnourished children in Rahuja village, in Sindh, Pakistan’s southern province.

Zahida walked for one hour to get to the center so that Sanam could be treated. Here, staff record weight and arm circumferences to determine the severity of child malnutrition. The rates in Sindh province are 18.8 percent, well above the World Health Organization’s emergency threshold of 15 percent. In the worst affected areas in the province, Concern nutritionists tell me that malnutrition rates are as high as 50 percent.

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Pakistan: Averting Flood Disasters for the Poorest

Posted on Thursday, July 28th, 2011 at 3:06 pm

Women farmers cut animal fodder for domestic livestock in Basti Machi village. Photo: Pakistan, Concern Worldwide

By Joan Bolger, Communications Officer, US

Standing on the 6-foot-high embankment that encircles the village of Basti Machi in Punjab Province a three-hour drive from the city of Multan, it’s hard to imagine the destruction wrought by the Indus located not 200 meters from here. Just one year ago, super monsoon rains completely submerged large swathes of this province in six feet of water flattening crops, destroying houses and wiping out livelihoods. For the poorest, the effect was catastrophic.

Nastabebe a 25-year-old mother of one and the appointed leader of this proud village recalls the devastation in quiet, hurried tones. “We rushed, men and women together to build the walls higher around our village after we were warned the waters were coming. With our hands we packed mud to make the walls bigger and wider. We worked day and night, but we could not beat the speed of the river. Everything was lost.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Promoting Grassroots Recovery in Pakistan

Posted on Friday, January 21st, 2011 at 3:24 pm

Concern conducts a hygiene session in Abas Khan with program participants. Photo: Joop Koopman, Concern Worldwide

By Joop Koopman, Press Officer, Concern Worldwide US

Seen from the air, the greenness and neat outlines of the farm fields of Punjab stand in sharp contrast with Sindh Province, its much poorer and more desert-like neighbor to the south.

My colleague Susan Finucane and I are flying from Karachi on Pakistan’s southern coast into the Punjabi city of Multan, an historically significant garrison town in the heart of the country that is today a well-kept, clean-swept bustling city. The relative privilege of the place and the orderliness of local traffic are a far cry from the chaos of urban streets we have just left behind in Sindh.

The ordered lushness observed from altitude makes sense. Punjab is literally the ‘land of five rivers’, fertile, relatively affluent and crucial to Pakistan as a grower of wheat and other crops. A kind of cognitive dissonance takes hold.

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Poorest in Pakistan Journey Toward Recovery

Posted on Tuesday, December 21st, 2010 at 4:15 pm

Safe water comes to the people of Aboro Jakhro village. Photo: Pakistan, Concern Worldwide

By Joop Koopman, Press Officer, Concern Worldwide US

We are getting into the thick of our mission to report on Concern Worldwide’s emergency response to the Pakistan’s devastating floods. Susan Finucane, Program Officer, and I have flown to Karachi, provincial capital of Sindh, and have made our way by car to Thatta, the ancient center of Muslim learning, and more rural parts of Thatta district, where Concern is working in close partnership with local organizations.

This is our first look at the destruction left in the water’s wake. Thousands of villages in Sindh have been damaged, and the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) estimates there are still up to 1 million homeless. Surveying the landscape, the statistics make sense. Highly vulnerable mud houses, characteristic of the extremely poor province, were literally washed away in heavy flooding. Meanwhile, stagnant water in large areas of the province increases the chance of waterborne diseases, a risk factor that will get worse once warmer temperatures return in the spring. Read the rest of this entry »

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