The villagers depend on monthly food supply.. Photo: humedica/Toni Grosshauser
What’s happening in Pakistan?
Aid for flood victims in Punjab – water supply and hygienic measures in Sindh
There are countries which seem never to get back to calm and which are repeatedly struck by large-scale atmospheric disturbances. Pakistan is one of these countries. In cooperation with the German Federal Foreign Office and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, humedica is struggling for better life circumstances for the needy people in the rural areas of this South-Asian country.
Also the main artery of the country, the river Indus which comes down from the Himalaya, may be blamed for the need. It flows across the whole country and into the sea. Many smaller rivers can be found, like a vascular system, in the whole northern part of the country.
At heavy rains the rivers burst their banks and the people who have built their villages near these main arteries lose their houses, belongings or even their lives.
One of the concerned provinces is Punjab, at the Indian border in the east of the country. There humedica realizes emergency help projects for flood victims. The focus is on the reconstruction of an accommodation and their means of subsistence, as well as the improvement of hygienic measures and of water supply.
Dr. Toni Grosshauser has been a coordinator for humedica in Pakistan for a long time. During his last visit in Pakistan a few weeks ago he visited the humedica projects in the city Jhang and the surrounding villages, in Punjab, as well as the region Kiphro in the province Sindh.
In Jhang, the people suffer from the direct consequences of the most recent monsoon flood and depend on the supply of food like rice and oil. Dr. Toni Grosshauser supervised the distribution of food rations for one month, as well as of health and hygienic products.
”As during my last visits already, I could observe the good organization of such distributions, which are very much appreciated by the population”, he is happy to say. “”Also the instructions about hygiene, which had been given before the distribution, have been very well executed.”
In many villages the whole harvest has been destroyed and the people must live of animal feed. Often the golden jewelry, usually the bride wealth, is being sold for food.
Further south-west there is the region Kiphro in the province Sindh. There, Dr. Toni Grosshauser visited humedica projects, supported by BMZ, in some villages which want to implement improved hygienic standards by different approaches.
As a start, there is the village Vishno Kolhi, where a committee for the development of the village has been created, which gives indications about basic hygienic measures and teaches the population. In this village the water supply is not assured every day.
Every 21 days the water of an irrigation creek, which is connected to a river by a canal, is directed into a natural reservoir for three days and is kept there. The villagers use the unfiltered water for their laundry, their body hygiene and as drinking water. In many villages of this region it is about the same.
In the village Ali Qaim a group of women is dealing with this topic and is teaching the women in the village basic hygienic and health measures. In this context, the topic education is also mentioned. Even if all women in the village support compulsory education for girls, most of the girls leave school not later than after fifth form.
Often they must help their mothers at home, look after younger sisters or brothers or prepare for their imminent wedding. In all much fewer girls than boys go to school, as also younger girls must help at home.
The village Channi Kohli focuses on an improvement of the sanitary installations. During an assembly, the majority of the villagers have shown a great interest in the planning of latrines outside the village.
The reason for this had been an informative meeting, during which the villagers had been confronted with the calculation of their yearly production of excrements. Referring to the illnesses probably coming along by this and adding the costs for medical treatment, the village community decided to change their habits.
Dr. Toni Grosshauser experienced one of the most interesting approaches in the village Hajo Mohammed Thebo. In form of an interactive theater play, different scenes concerning the topic hygiene were performed. The topics brought up were the washing in polluted water, hand washing, keeping food clean, protecting food against vermin, as well as defecation in places of residence.
Involving the spectators, alternative behaviors were discussed.
“The Pak Mission Society is a competent local partner. The on-site organization has worked very well”, humedica official Klaus Haas comments happily the positive development in Pakistan. “We hope to intensify the relations in the coming months and to realize even more trainings.”
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