July 25, 2011
It has been a year since floods devastated much of Pakistan, engulfing an area the size of the state of Oregon, causing 2,000 deaths, displacing 20 million people and reducing entire towns to little more than bricks and dirt.
Pakistan floods: One year on and still recovering
70-year old Bachal sits on a charpoy in her village of Ali Zaman Karolai in Thatta, in Pakistan's Sindh province.
Photo: WaterAid / Asim Hafeez
Diseases caused by a lack of clean water and sanitation still linger
across affected areas, and many struggle to earn a living after crops
were destroyed. The lasting effects of the floods continue to overshadow
daily life and many remain fearful of a repeat of the disaster during
this year's monsoon season.
WaterAid provided aid in the wake of the crisis, helping to reduce the spread of disease and get life
back to normal for thousands of families.
Our appeal raised more than $400,000 for relief efforts in Pakistan,
allowing us to reach more than 130,000 people through our partners on
We have distributed more than 10,000 hygiene kits, 15,500 mosquito
nets, 670,600 aqua tabs, 12,000 oral rehydration sachets and other
life-saving equipment. We have run nearly 600 hygiene sessions to reduce
the spread of diseases, such as skin infections, diarrhea and malaria.
WaterAid has also funded the construction of nearly 700 latrines and
more than 100 new hand pumps, as well as rehabilitating hundreds more.
One year on, WaterAid is committed to working in partnership with
communities in Pakistan to ensure sustainable water, sanitation and
Samia Malik is a health worker in Jampur, a small city in Rajanpur,
which was devastated in the floods and where unsafe water and inadequate
sanitation were causing the spread of disease.
"When we saw the water rushing into our fields, tears came into our
eyes," she said. "How painful it really is to leave one's home behind.
There was no sense of where our children were or where we were."
Since the floods, Samia has helped 200 households in the area by
going from door to door advising people to boil water and sharing
hygiene lessons, with support from WaterAid's partner organization,
MUAWIN (Movement for Urban Areas Wellbeing through Information &
"There were many patients," she said. "Some with eye infections, some
with stomach disorders, but the main culprit was contaminated water.
Lack of cleanliness is the root of every disease, but now there is a lot
of awareness of these things."
I have seen the amazing results of the filters before my very eyes.
- Asia Manzoor, Hygiene Promoter
Azhar Mahmood, Technical Coordinator for MUAWIN in Rajanpur, said a particularly successful element
of his work involved engaging communities in the construction of safe
latrines and sewerage treatments units, encouraging them to see their
importance and to take responsibility for their development and
He explained: "People said 'We have lost everything in the floods.
How can we make latrines?' So we had sessions to explain to them that if
men go into the fields, how will the women go? We also contacted local
health workers and teachers and gave them training to explain about
health and hygiene, sewerage treatment, clean water and their link."
The local communities were so motivated by the lessons that they
provided free labor, enabling WaterAid and local partners to construct
complete sewerage systems for 30 families, benefiting 300 individuals.
Social mobilizers were trained to go into other communities and share
hygiene lessons and expertise and students were invited to come and
learn for free from the work.
Asia Manzoor, WaterAid hygiene promoter in Sindh Province, Pakistan.
Photo: WaterAid / Asim Hafeez
Asia Manzoor is a Hygiene Promoter for WaterAid's partner in Thatta,
the Sukaar Foundation. She runs health and hygiene sessions in schools
and in the community.
"We have seen in the villages there is not much awareness among women
and children about which diseases are prevented by maintaining cleanliness.
This is the kind of awareness-raising we do in villages and schools."
With support from WaterAid, biosand filters were introduced to provide clean water in the local schools.
"I have seen the amazing results of filters before my very eyes," she
said. "Really dirty water that we look at and say not only would we not
drink it, we wouldn't even wash our dishes or clothes with it, goes
through the filter and comes out as clean water."
One year on from the crisis that destroyed much of Pakistan's
infrastructure, a lot has been done to help affected families have their
basic needs met. However, many areas still require proper sewerage
systems, access to safe, sustainable water supplies, and permanent
homes, schools and facilities.