(17/10/2014) It’s not pattering, it is booming. The monsoon is loud, every word spoken is lost in the roaring, crashing and thunder. The wind tears at the beams, the water pours directly on to the rooves of the huts, as if from a dumper truck. The children are scared, the mother is anxious. But as the house can no longer withstand the pressure, the family has already left. Evacuated.
At the beginning of September, the people in India and Pakistan were taken by surprise by late, heavy monsoon rains – once again. Flash floods and huge deluges washed houses away, leaving families homeless. In Pakistan, the body of water overflowed in the narrow mountain valley of Gilgit-Baltistan and the semi-autonomous region AJ Kashmir, as well as on flatter plains along the river Chenab in the Punjab province. The consequences of the flooding badly affect primarily the poorer people in the countryside. Many have lost their home, their animals and large parts of their crops.
It is not the first flood but the losses are fewer
By mid-September half a million people were able to be brought to safety from the flooded areas. Then the water retreated and revealed the extent of the destruction: whole villages are uninhabitable. In the district of Muzzafargarh many are also affected. Here, there is huge poverty, the population suffered badly in the 2010 flood of the century and in the floodings of the following year. In the 2010 catastrophe, Welthungerhilfe supported the population, together with the Doaba Foundation, the local partner organisation. It is also currently supporting the people with the basic necessities: around 1000 families have received household items, building materials for emergency shelters and hygiene articles. In the coming weeks, a further 2000 families should receive supplies.
Speedy aid for flood victims
The support came quickly and was well-organised, the emergency kits were stored and available locally. In previous years, Welthungerhilfe, the Doaba Foundation and the village associations had worked to better prevent catastrophes. And that has proved its worth. Trained evacuation helpers reacted quickly, the population received earlier warning and could prepare itself for the evacuation. More people were able to save themselves and their animals than back in 2010.
Now they are returning to their villages. The booming has stopped, the destroyed villages lie silently in a countryside marked by water and mud. But, despite the catastrophe, there is hope, as people have discovered that they can learn to better protect themselves.