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Families struggle in Pakistan as the monsoon weather arrives

As the monsoon season starts once again in Pakistan, aid agencies are warning about the renewed threat to families who haven’t recovered from last year’s floods.

In Sindh Province, World Vision Pakistan reports that levels of the Indus are rising as snow and glaciers start melting in the mountainous north. Already, around 30,000 villagers in the Ghotki District are threatened by the rising waters. Sindh Province was one of the worst-affected areas last year and many families have yet to rebuild or repair their homes properly. Government-run schemes were set up to assist people, but due to widespread mismanagement, many of the poor have yet to benefit.

IRIN has been speaking to some of the flood victims from last year. One villager in the Thatta District of Sindh Province said the plastic sheeting which still covered his roof offered little protection for his family. Another man told the news agency “some NGOs helped us in the beginning, but then we were left on our own. The words of government officials mean nothing to me.’ The man added that it was a daily struggle “to earn a living or just put food on the table”. With the arrival of the next monsoon season, families are becoming anxious how their homes will withstand the rainy season. Around 60,000 people in Sindh Province are believed to have received no assistance at all in rebuilding after last year’s floods.

In a recent press statement, Oxfam’s country director said that flood victims were not looking for handouts, but wanted to “work their way out of poverty and rebuild a better life than before”. The charity conducted a survey of over 2,000 people in the Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Baluchistan and Sindh provinces, asking about their needs and desires for the future. Seventy per cent of the people polled said they needed reconstruction which would generate jobs. They also wanted affordable food, healthcare and to rebuild their homes.

The United Nations Emergency Relief Coordinator, Valerie Amos, spoke about the concerns for vulnerable families last week. She said that up to two million people were thought to be at risk again from flooding and the problem was particularly acute “due to lack of funds for reconstruction”. She called for more effort to be put into the recovery process and also into “flood preparedness work on river banks, irrigation channels and other infrastructure”. According to Ms Amos, more than 600 million dollars is still needed for refurbishing health care facilities and schools and repairing water wells.

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