Anila J.Gill, Caritas Pakistan director, spoke to Kamran Chaudhry about the recent challenges in dealing with country’s most catastrophic floods which has affected more than 20 million people. How serious is the humanitarian crisis following the massive floods in Pakistan? The flood waters have washed away 10 percent of our crops and now food security challenges us in coming months. The risk of epidemics is also growing especially in the worst hit areas. It is very painful to see people without food and shelter. The scale of disaster is so huge that people will not forget it for a long time. Is the world doing enough to respond to the disaster? The total revised appeal of Caritas Pakistan is for 171,310,259 rupees/€ 1,571,654 (this is part of a larger appeal by the whole confederation which is calling for €10 million). So far we have received hundred percent responses from our funding partners. Within [...]
By Shahzada Irfan Khursheed Bibi stood out amongt the recipients of relief goods with a bandage worn around her fractured arm. Being over 60 her arm would take a long time to heal. Besides, she knew the treatment would prove a heavy burden on the limited resources she had at her disposal. Khursheed recalled the fateful day when all of a sudden her life changed dramatically. “It started raining heavily. All of us stayed inside thinking we were safe but actually we were not.” Her three-room house built on mud foundation in Rehampur village, Okara, could not withstand the onslaught of heavy rainstorm and caved in. The room in which she lived with her husband suffered the most damage. The roof and walls fell to the ground with a thud entrapping the occupants. “I didn’t have enough time to leave. The bricks fell on my arm and caused the fracture. But the biggest [...]
By Shahzada Irfan For Ameen Babar the working days are long, there are no days off in sight and no plans for a holiday. As Disaster Management Programme Coordinator with Caritas Pakistan in Faisalabad, his days are filled by trips to areas devastated by rainstorms and flashfloods. With road networks destroyed or submerged under water, travelling to these places is not at all easy. “Sometimes you even have to wade through waist-deep water, not knowing where you are going to end up,” says Ameen. Pakistan is currently facing the worst floods in 80 years. Millions of people are affected. Around eight million people need help with shelter, food, water and medicines. Ameen’s job requires him to prepare communities to survive disasters, assess damage, draw up appeals for funds for the national Caritas office and assure supplies of relief goods reach the most vulnerable people. He also has to monitor the work of local aid [...]
“This is not a regular ambulance. It can save more lives because it contains an intensive care unit for patients in a critical condition,” said Jameel Khoury, Caritas Jerusalem Project Manager. The new ambulance has been provided by Caritas to Al-Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza. Home to 1.5 million Palestinians, Gaza is one of the most densely populated places on Earth. Border restrictions mean that people are trapped inside with limited access to goods and services. Israel launched military operations in Gaza at the start of the year. In the months after the bombing, a Caritas mobile medical team travelled around Gaza offering counselling and medical support. Professionals helped people deal with the stress which is common among conflict survivors. Many cases involve trauma in children. If left unaddressed, mental health issues such as depression can develop. “I have seen cases of eating disorders, insomnia, chronic fear, disorientation and trauma,” said Maha [...]
More than two and a half million people were forced from their homes as a result of clashes between the Pakistan army and militants in the Swat Valley. The district used to be known as the ‘Switzerland of Pakistan’ and attracted thousands of tourists who came for skiing and mountain walking – but that was before the fighting started. Sheirin, who has lived for 70 years in the village of Malamjabar, had to run for his life with his wife and eight children. “One of my nephews was killed,”he said. Thanks to Caritas, Sheirin and his family received a package of relief items shortly after reaching a safe refuge. Caritas supported 385,000 people who had to flee their homes in Swat in 2009, providing food, healthcare, shelter, sanitation, clean water and household items.