"We held on to the roof for three days"

by humedica-Team Paistan/RBU,  2010/08/07

Khasa Maan lives in the town of Charsadda, which is located north east of the city of Peshawar. He told the humedica team that the rising flood of the river Djingi, a branch of Kabul River, took him by surprise in the late evening.

Millions of people in the north west of Pakistan suffered the same fate as this man: the floods deprived them of everything they had. Photo: ARO Pakistan

"My house is located 12 metres above River Djingi. In the evening, at 9 pm, a neighbour knocked on my door and shouted: "The water is coming, the water is coming!" And then it was already running into my house and it rose rapidly to a depth of one metre; that is a total of 13 metres above the usual river stage.

I could neither take any money, nor valuables or clothes with me. I could only safe my own life and that of my wife and children. Everything else, my whole property, is lost. We were given clothes by our neighbours. My cattle died, the fields have been washed away, so we have nothing left. In order for us to live on, the rain needs to stop and our houses need to be rebuilt."

About 200 refugees are staying at one of the schools which are serving as emergency accommodations and at which the humedica team is providing medical treatment to the people. About three families are living in one classroom, i.e. 20 persons or more. In a voice both sad and demanding an elderly women told us: "There is so little help. The children are hungry and we are provided with only one meal a day, consisting of rice."

Another man staying at the school reported: "My three children and I took refuge on the roof of our house. We were forced to watch how a woman tried also to take refuge on a roof. She slipped and died."

A lot of people apparently also tried to get to a safe place by reaching the highway which is running through the city and is located higher above the river. However, in order to prevent the cattle from walking on the six-lane highway, barbed wire fences had been set up to both sides of the road.

When the masses of water finally threatened to rise ever higher and the people feared for their lives, they resolved to throwing their clothes across the barbed wire fence in order to climb over it. Some got injured, others got caught in the fence and drowned.

Also the governor could not escape the disaster and he told our mission team members that he and his children had held on to the roof of their house for three days. The house itself had been flooded up to the roof and surrounded completely by masses of water.

His children had been forced to watch how people and animals drowned in the flood. Distraught, he said in the end: "My house was located higher up than those of the poorer people. How then will they have fared..."

In particular the children are deeply traumatised, according to our mission team. Photo: humedica/Ferdinand Hofer

The humedica team members Prof Dr Dr Bernd Domres, Dr Rashid Al Badi and coordinator Ferdinand Hofer have visited several schools in Charsadda and have been told of many similar fates. In particular the children are deeply traumatised, according to our mission team. Even hearing the name of the river frightens them, not to mention the sound of the roaring masses of water which are rising once more.

Dear friends and sponsors, please support our relief measures in Pakistan. We depend on your support in the form of targeted donations in order to send further relief materials and teams to Pakistan.
      humedica e.V.
      Donation reference "Flood relief Pakistan"
      Account 47 47
      Bank Code 734 500 00
            Sparkasse Kaufbeuren

You can also contribute our work by donating online, or simply by sending a text message: Send DOC to +49 8 11 90. Your mobile phone bill will be charged once with a donation of 5 euros, with 4.83 euros of this amount being directly channelled into our project work. THANK YOU VERY MUCH!

Mud, chaos and many ruined lives - that was left by the floods. Photo: humedica/Ferdinand Hofer

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