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Humanitarian Issues from the Field
These Humanitarian Issues are drawn from radio reports from four humanitarian information projects broadcasting in Punjab and Sindh. Radio Awaz in Punjab and Radio Highway in Sindh each have teams of reporters covering the needs of people affected by the floods.
Airing on Radio Pakistan are Nawin Rah (New Way) in Punjab, and Naun Jeeyapo (New Life) in Sindh, produced by the Centre for Research and Security Studies. The programs and reports are part of the Humanitarian Information Project. They convey vital information to people affected by the floods. The programs and reports also help raise awareness about health, nutrition, hygiene, education, shelter, protection and rehabilitation matters.
However, these stories can also identify gaps in information and assistance, or misunderstandings, which can be addressed through the radio programs. The following Humanitarian Issues from the Field are drawn from the latest episodes, which can also be accessed with English translation on www.hip.org.pk. It is hoped that by sharing these matters, the humanitarian community can have a better idea of questions and concerns from people affected by the floods.
1. A report from DG Khan, UC More Jhangi, found that residents of Moza Mari Darmiyani said that they have no access to clean water since the floods. Children are suffering diarrhea and stomach aches. In the report, villagers say the water tastes bad after the flood. They say that some organizations have come and conducted surveys but so far they don’t see any action. They are wondering if any organization plans to help restore their access to clean water.
2. The Government Primary School, Bait Boghla Janoobi in District Bakkar is one of 24 schools in the district destroyed or damaged during the floods. In a report from the school, the reporter found the lone teacher sitting under a tree outside and trying to conduct classes for 250 students. The school committee and teacher have filed applications to authorities to find more teachers and begin restoring the school building, but so far have not received any reply. The teacher says he is posted to teach at this school but lives 180m away. He has found a temporary place to live closer, however he says he cannot take care of all the classes by himself. The student’s education is suffering.
3. Residents of the village Wana Ganda in UC Koth Channa, District Mianwali, are growing increasingly frustrated with the state of their BHU. They say the boundary wall is damaged and there is hardly any staff. According to residents, two people have died of snake bite as no one was available to treat them. The lack of staff is also created problem for women who need care and treatment. Residents say they have to go to the main hospital 8km away for basic care, while the road is also is poor condition.
4. In Kala Bagh, Mianwali, residents say there is no staff available at the civic hospital. Although medicines are also supposed to be available, people say they have to buy medicines themselves as there are never any available at the hospital. The report also hears from the hospital in-charge, who is an eye specialist. He says there are doctors at the hospital, however people in the community say there are hardly any services. Residents say ambulances are supposed to be available, however if they need an ambulance they have to hire a private one. In this story, one man says NGOs do more work than the government in providing health care.
5. A reporter recently traveled to Noor Pur, a village in District Rajanpur, where he found that the community had restored its routine volley ball games. Before the floods, volley ball was a popular pass time to play and to watch. Recently, residents of all ages worked to clear an area and put up nets. They say there are still issues like lack of shelter, closed schools and health problems related to the flood, but they were eager to move on with their lives. Playing volley ball helps them pass the time and distract from their worries, and has also helped boost morale in the village.
1. A reporter from Naun Jeeyapo visited Sasti Basti camp near Sukkur recently, where 100 families are living. She talked to several women and found that they were not aware that they should be breast feeding their children, especially that they should exclusively breastfeed children from 0-6 months. One mother of six children said she only feeds her 5-month old baby twice a day and gives him biscuits the rest of the day. Another woman gives her 3-month old baby cow’s milk, her baby also got sick when someone fed her watermelon. One woman told the reporter that she had stopped feeding her baby her breast milk because the baby got diarrhea and someone in the camp told her it was because of her breast milk.
2. In a report from Larkana, about 30 families are living at the railway station because they do not want to go back to their homes. They say they have nothing left, and they want to stay in the city and work. Most of them are already working as labourers and are able to earn enough money to feed their families. They say that their lands are still under water and their crops are destroyed and they will not be able to provide for the families if they go back. However, the report also heard from the district authorities who say they need to continue their operations and they cannot have people living at the railway station as it is now beginning to hold up shipments of supplies coming through. People say that they are ready to be relocated somewhere else by the authorities, but their main concern is that they can continue to work.
3. In UC Bhanot, District Matiari, some villages along the river bank no longer have access to clean water. Before the floods, people in villages such as Jamal Hajjano, used hand pumps. After the floods, despite new hand pumps, people say the water is too salty and tastes bad. They say they cannot use the water even to make tea. According to one man interviewed, only one out of the seven hand pumps in the village provides pure water, despite the fact that all the hand pumps were replaced after the floods. A local official interviewed says there are no funds available to restore water supply to the villages, adding that support is needed from district and provincial government. The reporter also found that villagers are unaware of boiling water and how to get water tested.
4. As many people struggle to rebuild their lives and many efforts are under way to help people earn incomes, HIP often finds success stories where people have shown self-sufficiency. A report Khairpur near Larkana bridge, in the village Muhammad Bux Sheikh, hears from Abida Sheikh, who has began stitching to help feed her family after the floods. She lost her sewing machine during the floods, and has now borrowed her sister-in-laws so she can work. She earns 70-80 rupees per dress, and she says for some people in need she stitches for free. In addition, she is working as a cook for a local NGO. Abida is also teaching sewing to other women in the community so that they can also help support their families.
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