By Sandra Barrows, Communications Coordinator, Oxfam
Six months after the floods of 2011-12 caused severe devastation in Sindh, people are still waiting to put the pieces back together because in many places flood water is still standing. This not only undermines the potential for planting Rabi crops (normally in November and December) but also delays early recovery programmes. Hashim Memon village in Tando Allah Yar district is one such place.
The endless row of makeshift tents may no longer be seen along the roadside but most people are still struggling without proper shelter.
Seema Bibi, 33, mother of two, shares her experience of what life is like six months on. “When the floods came, everything was washed away and our biggest concern was saving our lives. One month ago we returned to the debris of our houses. Our biggest concern now is rebuilding our lives.” She continues,, “We’re left with nothing, we even brought back the tent we were taking shelter under and have set it up here (where our house used to be). We need help with material to rebuild our homes: the earth (mud) is still wet and cannot be used to make a house.”
Ghulam Fatima, 55, who is still living in a makeshift tent with her husband and six children tells us, “We’ve been here (in this tent) since August and only God knows how much longer we’ll have to be here. We cannot return home as we are still waiting for the water to go down.” She points to her village on the other side, “The path to our village has been cut off because of the water.”
Jannat, 55, mother of six (female farmer) also shares her woes, “I had four acres of cotton and it was almost ready to be picked. Then the floods came and washed it all away – our hard work gone! My husband and I are both farmers but now the land is inundated and we are waiting for the water to go down before we can plant again.”
Jannat’s husband, Mohammad, adds, “We’ve never experienced such a flood in our lives. We were always able to support our family but for the first time in our lives now we need outside help”.
In October 2011,Oxfam provided the flood affected people of this village with immediate relief in the form of water, sanitation and hygiene services and will continue to work in this area with the Emergency Food Security and Livelihoods (EFSL) programme.
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Oxfam’s Emergency and Food Security and Livelihoods (EFSL) programme focuses on assisting people in meeting their immediate, minimum food needs. The activities of this sector enable access to food through different cash transfer modalities including conditional cash grant, cash-for-work, vouchers to name a few. Cash transfers have been identified by Oxfam GB and its partners as the best mechanism to assist families in accessing their urgent food needs without further depleting their assets. The EFSL programme also provides animal fodder and kitchen sets.