“Never in my wildest thoughts did I imagine that one day I would lose my house and valuables to a flood, turning my world upside down all of a sudden,” Razia Bibi, a 45-year-old resident in Pakistan’s eastern Rajanpur district said with tears in her eyes.
“We had been told through mosques that we need to vacate our village as soon as possible as flood water can enter anytime soon … we immediately started packing our stuff up, but the unmerciful flood water did not give us enough time to even carry things we needed,” she said.
Initially, Bibi said, she, along with her husband and five children , spent at least two nights without shelter before moving to a makeshift camp set up by the district administration, adding that her family is being provided with food and other necessary items, but life in the camp is nowhere near what they had in their village before.
“Many vacant homes including ours have been swept away by flash floods. We built our house bit by bit by saving hard … and now we have no idea where we will go after the flood is over,” she said.
Recent floods in Pakistan have affected more than 33 million people, killing more than 1,200 including 400 children, and injuring over 6,000 people since mid-June, according to the National Disaster Management Authority.
Half a million displaced people were forced to live in camps, according to government officials.
Like many others, 39-year-old Muhammad Rafique is currently living in a tent in the country’s northwestern district of Dera Ismail Khan.
“Two of my children were injured when the wall of our house collapsed due to heavy rains and floods,” Rafique told Xinhua, adding that the village he lived in was completely submerged in the flood water.
“Flash floods washed away at least 20 of my cows and also completely damaged standing crops … all these were my source of earnings. I do not know how I would survive now,” he said.
He said that it is not just his family who has suffered huge losses from floods, but almost all other families in his neighborhood had gone through the similar situation.
After the devastating floods, humanitarian assistance from various countries including China started to flow into Pakistan, with civil administration along with the Pakistan army leaving no stone unturned to provide essential items including food, tents and medicines to the flood-affected people.
The United Nations (UN) and Pakistan made an appeal this week for 160 million U.S. dollars in emergency funding to help millions affected in the South Asian country.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will travel to Pakistan for a solidarity visit next week.
Joining hands with the Pakistani government in this difficult time, many non-governmental organizations, charity institutions, philanthropists and individuals are collecting and distributing required items in response to the overwhelming negative impact of flooding.
Talking to Xinhua, Raza Ameen, an aid worker at Alkhidmat Foundation Pakistan, a non-profit organization dedicated to humanitarian services in Pakistan, said that countless flood-affected families are in desperate need of help as unprecedented heavy downpours and floods had ruined everything for them.
“We have been providing cooked food, clean water, dry ration packs, tents, and medical aid to the affected people. Many people are contributing and making donations with open hearts to help the people in need,” he said.
Noting that brotherhood and solidarity are needed in facing the ongoing natural disaster, Pakistani Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif said that the recent rains and floods have affected the entire country, and it was heartening to see that various sections of the society are playing their vital roles.
“The difficult time would be faced with national solidarity and the whole nation should vigorously take part to help out their brothers and sisters in distress,” he said. ■