After the storm

"Floods have totally changed the landscape of the area, especially the social life of the flood-affected people, as nothing is left with them, which was theirs before the flood"

Storms come and go, but they leave behind unforgettable scars. The other day, I happened to be in the company of Governor Balighur Rehman at the Governor’s House. He is concerned with post-flood complications in flood-hit areas.

I have heard the stories of reliance, untold miseries of poor people, and moving instances of empathy and sympathy.

Saeed Ahmed Selaaf Mazari’s is one such story. Life was never kind to him. The only earner of his four visually handicapped children, he is a resident of Chak Mutt No. 2, in the Rujhan region of Rajanpur district, and a grade four employee in the local water supply network. But he was satisfied with his life since, despite his limited earnings, he could provide a house for his family.

However, the roof on his two mud rooms collapsed in the last week of August due to the strong stream of floods, and Saeed Mazari’s family has not slept under a roof since. They are living in a makeshift camp built with charpoys and bed linens.

“No tent, no supplies, no one has taken responsibility for my family’s recovery,” Mazari screams. His main concern is getting his house built as soon as possible after his two-room mud house was swept away by the floodwaters. In the village, not a single house sticks out.

“Every time I think my girls are out in the open, I die with embarrassment,” he stated.

He stated that owing to cultural traditions, her girls are unable to live with other families, and as a result, they are struggling to survive without shelter.

His possessions, including residences, are still lying in the open sky next to the Indus Highway.

“I always thought of money and medical treatment to cure my children’s blindness, but the floods have swept away those worries, and now I’m worried about my house and daughters’ privacy.” He said that they used to live at the house of their relatives who are also flood victims and left no resources to cope with the aftermath of the flood.

He said that due to cultural norms her daughters cannot live with other families and due to this, they are facing difficulties without shelter.

The fact is every single person in Rujhan, Fazilpur and Dera Ghazi Khan has their own kind of worries and is struggling to return to their dilapidated houses for settling on a self-help basis after the floodwater starts receding.

The government has started the rehabilitation process after the passage of at least two months.

A survey is being conducted after which funds would be disbursed to the victims.

Some philanthropists have taken responsibility for the reconstruction of some villages and they also have initiated the rebuilding of selected villages, but the rehabilitation of more than five million flood-affected people is a huge task which needs collective efforts.

Floods have totally changed the landscape of the area, especially the social life of the flood-affected people, as nothing is left with them, which was theirs before the flood.

The damaged infrastructure of the irrigation system and accumulated floodwater in the fields will delay the sowing and cultivation of the winter crops.

After the floodwaters retreated, the flood-affected individuals experienced sadness, pain, and tears. Ayesha Bibi is a Chhatani inhabitant. Six years ago, she lost her father after a protracted illness, and now the floodwaters have taken her mother, brother, and home. Her maternal uncle is now caring for her. She is living in a tent on the site of their former home, where her family formerly lived.

Life may be both compassionate and cruel at times. That is what life is all about.