Pakistan: Getting through winter in the north-west

1 February, 2012
Basmina Jan and her children collect the winter package at KADO's NFI distribution point in New Sabzi Mandi of District Kohat. Credit: KADO/Sumaya Shafi
Basmina Jan and her children collect the winter package at KADO's NFI distribution point in New Sabzi Mandi of District Kohat. Credit: KADO/Sumaya Shafi

Aid organizations have provided life-saving blankets, quilts and warm clothes to thousands of people returning home in Pakistan’s north-west.

In recent years, the area has witnessed an upsurge in militant activities, military operations and drone attacks, all of which have affected the lives of many residents.

Most of them are struggling to rebuild their lives, eking out a living from selling farm harvests at local markets. Many people were unprepared for the region’s harsh winter.

As the cold season approached, OCHA’s Emergency Response Fund (ERF) helped one local NGO—the Khushal Awareness and Development Organization (KADO)—to distribute blankets, quilts, shawls and sweaters to 1,700 people in Orakzai Agency in the Federally Administered Tribal Area (FATA).

Traditionally a male-dominated society, there are now many female-headed households in Orakzai because so many men were killed or severely injured in the fighting in the area. Years of struggle have severely limited their ability to take care of their families.

These people include mothers such as 40-year-old Basmina Jan, who has four children. She was forced to cope alone after her husband was hospitalized following a military air strike.

“I am looking after my injured husband as well as my children. It is hard to make sure there is food on the table, let alone worry about clothes for the children,” she explains.

“I received winter items for myself and all my children. At least now I won’t have to worry about them getting ill from the cold.”

Reporting by OCHA Pakistan