I arrived in Benazir Bhutto International airport at around 04.00 hours and the first thing that struck me of course was the temperature. At the moment it’s hot in Pakistan, at least in Islamabad. During the daytime, it gets around 40 C and at night it hardly cools of. Waiting for me was a driver for Cordaid (the Caritas member in the Netherlands) who brought me to a fully furnished small apartment. It had been in use until very recently by Cordaid’s construction manager.
Staff from international Caritas members Trocaire (Caritas Ireland), Caritas Switzerland, CRS (a Caritas member from the USA), and Cordaid had been working on projects for the survivors of a major earthquake in 2005 in Pakistan when the crisis caused by the displacement of millions of people due to conflict in the Swat valley broke.
Rehabilitation work for the earthquake that killed 70,000 people is finishing up and now suddenly the focus is on emergency aid again.
The heat is ok when you are in an air-conditioned room, but at the moment (at 9.00 PM) electricity in the block is out and so are the ac. Time for an early rest as tomorrow at 07.30 AM I will be picked up for my first field visit to Swabi, a district in the North West Frontier Province (NWFP) not to far from Islamabad.
The districts of Swabi and Mardan host the most of the (according to the UN) 3 million people displaced. In Swabi I will meet people who’ve fled the fighting and are housed in camps and with by communities.
I hope for the best.