House warming party in the former flood zone – the first new houses finished

March 22, 2011

Last year they lost everything, now they have hope for the future again: 60 families in north-western Pakistan who lost their homes in the floods last August have now built new houses with the help of Shelter Now.

 

Last year they lost everything, now they have hope for the future again: 60 families in north-western Pakistan who lost their homes in the floods last August have now built new houses with the help of Shelter Now. The low-level brick buildings are designed to withstand considerably more than their former loam-walled homes. Residents of the villagers of Mumtazabad held a celebration to mark the completion of 30 new buildings on March 18th.

Shelter Now provided each needy family with fired clay bricks along with wooden beams and steel girders for the roofing. The residents themselves then dug the foundations and built their homes. They chose to initially build one-room houses to start with, which can then be extended as necessary. Water supply pipes, sewage disposal and power cables are all included in the design concept. Altogether, there are 87 houses being built in three villages – for each one Shelter Now is donating just under 1000 euros through donated funds. 

“I feel much safer now”, Sabr Naz told us, a widow from Mumtazabad. She had been living with her two children in a tent at the edge of the road since the floods. She says the new house is much better and more stable than her old one, which was swept away. She is now once again working at home sewing to earn a living for herself and her young daughters; she is also teaching girls from the village how to sew.
Fayyaz Ahmed, father of five, tells us :“it still feels like a dream: I'm now living in a beautiful, solid house. Since I was a child I have always lived in an old loam-walled house. The rain always came through – I never had the money to repair it – and it collapsed immediately when the floods came. All of a sudden we had lost everything and I even considered taking my own life, I had no hope anymore and there was no one to help us. We were waiting hopelessly at the side of the road, when a Shelter Now truck suddenly pulled up with food. They helped us with all our needs; now I can go about my work in peace.”

 

What next?

 

Once all these people have a roof over their heads, we will continue to support them so that they can once again provide for themselves. Many of them are farmers; they lost their entire harvest in the floods and with it, their seed for this year. We will provide them with seed that is typical for this region. Sadly, we often find after such natural disasters that foreign firms turn up and “generously” give out genetically modified seed. The sprays that are used later make the soil unsuitable for “normal” seed, and so the farmers are then forced to buy expensive genetically modified seed each year and thus become dependent on these firms. We want to stand against such criminal acts.

 

2000 people were killed in the devastating floods in Pakistan last summer. Millions were made homeless and lost everything they possessed. The north-west of the country was especially hard hit; here Shelter initially provided hot meals as emergency aid and later handed out cooking equipment to enable the flood victims to cook for themselves. We also provided special-purpose jerrycans with built-in filter systems. Together, they are capable of providing clean drinking water for nearly 10 thousand people for a year. By that time, the wells that were polluted in the floods should be able to provide clean water again.

 

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