Last Saturday, together with Welthungerhilfe, we distributed food and water to the Nowshera Kalam community, in the Nowshera district, one of the most affected in all the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa area.
We were supported in doing this by the local authorities, who helped us in identifying the most damaged communities and the staff safety measures. For example, they advised female staff members against going there: in fact, for cultural reasons, in this area women are not likely to stay in public places attended only by men. I therefore had the opportunity to talk to some women of the community. I was welcomed by a family (mother and two daughters) and I could spend some hours enjoying their company.
The girls (21 and 25 years old) spoke a very good English and gave me a more detailed report of the wreckage caused here by the floods.
While we were chatting I could only hear the voices and racket from the nearby street where the distribution was taking place. We briefly peeked out the little main door and we almost got swept away by a bunch of men rushing towards a truck loaded with food and water.
For three hours our colleagues distributed water, flour, beans, salt and sugar to about 100 families. In doing so they fed more than 700 people.
In the meantime, while we were together, the two girls told me about their experience of the night when the water overwhelmed everything. At around 7 pm the street was already completely flooded and the water level kept rising.
They were frightened and managed to secure some food and take some clothes and other personal belongings with them, and immediately left their house. Around 2 am their house had already been swamped by water. They took refuge in a relatives’ place in a safe area and returned some days later to clean the mud off their house.
Today you can still see clearly on the walls and furniture the level reached by the water and mud: around 2 meters. On the roof and balcony carpets, clothes, shoes and mattresses are laid to dry. Most of them are unusable. In the bedrooms there are only some beds without any mattresses left. At the moment they use mats and blankets to sleep on the floor. They tell me their house is in much better conditions compared to some other ones. From the balcony they show me how many houses built with mud or wood were completely crashed by the water’s fury.
Sidra, the youngest girl, tells me that many families in their community have lost everything. Their houses are ruined and they don’t know where to go. They have an urgent need of food and drinking water, but also of kitchen utensils.
In spite of their despair, their is some great dignity in these women’s grief. I can read hope in their eyes. They really trust that our presence here can bring a tangible help so that they can start to live again. Please help us to spread the appeal: 5 euros are enough to give water and food to an entire family for one day!