Sindh Province, Pakistan: Farmers, who lost everything during the floods, have now reclaimed their land with some support from a local NGO and OCHA. Credit: OCHA
For two consecutive years, unprecedented monsoon rains and floods have swept across southern Pakistan’s Sindh and Balochistan Provinces, affecting millions of people’s lives. The floods of July and August 2010 and 2011 destroyed villages, communities and livelihoods, and forced many people to flee from their homes. In 2010, nearly 2,000 people died and an estimated 14 million people needed humanitarian assistance.
As of early 2012, an estimated 10,000 families affected by the floods still lived in temporary settlements in Sindh. Land remained under water in many areas, preventing families from returning to their villages and many farmers from cultivating their fields.
Habib Rehman’s family home, crops and farm animals were washed away during the 2010 floods. Rehman and his family were left with almost nothing and had to rely on emergency aid. “I received food and other aid, but without any crops or animals I could not cultivate my land and provide for my family,” he said.
When Rehman, a father of five, returned to his village seven months after the floods, he needed help rebuilding his home and farm so that he could support his family. With funding from the OCHA Emergency Response Fund
, local NGO Shah Sachal Sami Foundation (SSSF) was able to provide farmers like Rehman with seeds and farming tools necessary to help them get back on their feet.
“I received seeds and farming tools for free. They also gave me enough fertilizer to cover two acres of land,” said Rehman. “I was then able to sell the produce and generate some income to provide food and health care for my family. I was also able to buy books and clothes for my children.”
SSSF also set up a cooperative system to help the farmers sell their produce in local markets to generate income. “Now my family is stable and we are not worried about going short of money or food. My children are not crying for food and clothing, and my wife is not worried about not having enough to cook at home," said Rehman.
Reporting by SSSF and OCHA/ Pakistan