Pakistan floods: Famida Ghancha describes the situation
Three months after floods devastated Pakistan, cases of disease are increasing and in the worst-hit region, the southern province of Sindh, large areas remain underwater. At the same time, funds for the UN flood appeal are drying up and threatening the aid and reconstruction effort. As winter approaches, seven million people are still without adequate shelter. Oxfam's Caroline Gluck met with one woman, Famida Ghancha, who describes the situation that she and her family face.
Famida Ghancha, in her 30s, has six children (three girls, three boys). Her youngest son is three. Her husband had an electrical shop in Khushal village, Mehar, Dadu District. She describes her current situation:
“My son got sick after the floods. He had fever, diarrhea and was really weak. I got sick too.
“The floods came at night and everyone was sleeping, the waters suddenly poured in and our beds were floating. We rushed out, leaving the house straight away. We only had some blankets, that was it. We had no livestock.
“The government had sent some vehicles and we stayed for several days on a river bank. Then we left and came to a school, about 5 kms from here. We stayed inside a classroom. We didn’t have anything except some rice that the government distributed.
“But then we were asked to leave the school. They wanted us to move so classes could open. Then my husband was arrested because we had stayed in the school. His release was on the condition we would leave. But I wasn’t happy there; there were some male staff staying in the school and there was no privacy; this was difficult for us.
“We arrived in this camp last night. We can't go home yet; we know there is still five feet of water in our village. We keep checking if the water has dried up.
“We moved here with about 25 other people. A smaller group who were left behind are coming here too.
“It's very difficult moving about so much. I had to go to hospital last night because I was sick. I had high blood pressure and anaemia.
“The biggest problem for me is that we don’t have a home. There are strange people living around us and living with strangers is very difficult for me. I am used to living in my own house but now we sit openly. There is absolutely no privacy. Before I didn't go anywhere, I always stayed at home. It’s really shaming for me to live like this.
“We buy food with our own money; the main thing we lack is utensils – we have no cooking pots, pans, or spoons, but we need them. I didn’t expect anything from the government nor am I expecting anything. At the time of the floods we hoped maybe we would get some help, but I see there is only food and water provided by some agencies.”
Oxfam is calling on the international donor community to fund Pakistan generously in its time of need, help the emergency response in the south, as well as recovery work across all flood-affected areas.