By Eric Dayal, National Emergency Coordinator, Caritas Pakistan
I travelled to Nowshera for an aid distribution on Wednesday. When we went to do a survey a week before there were blocked roads and difficulties getting through. This time we didn’t have problems and traffic was flowing quite freely, but on our way there we did see places where the waters were still up to the roofs of some of the houses.
At that moment, it hadn’t rained for two days and the waters were going down in some places. Some people – although very few of them – were going back to their houses.
The items we gave out at the distribution were decided upon from the careful assessments we did the previous week. Among them were mattresses, pillows and sheets; hygiene kits that included things such as toothpaste and even nail clippers. Also, kitchen sets containing pans, plates, cutlery and also a “tawa” which is basically a pan in which people can make chapattis.
The distribution took place at the parish house where we received 230 families. Some of these families had been staying with relatives, others had been sleeping out in the open. The ones who were sleeping in the open air had gone up to higher places or were staying near the parish house.
The houses near the river bed had been completely washed away. People are coping at the moment despite having lost so much. Some of the children are so innocent and they don’t understand what’s happening. They just keep on playing.
One of the big difficulties people are facing is the loss of their jobs. They don’t have money and they don’t know if and when they’ll next get paid. Even if they do get paid, they don’t know if it will be as much as they usually get.
Women in that area keep to themselves, but the ones I spoke to told me that for them the big difficult was not having a home and no longer having a proper family life.
I think for the people I met at Nowshera it will take at least a couple of months to get back to any sort of normal life.