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Pakistan flood victims ‘forgotten’

November 17, 2010 Leave a comment

In the southern province of Sindh in Pakistan, Ghulam Uddin and his family of eight are all but marooned more than 100 days after floodwater started swamping huge chunks of the country in late July.Chest-deep water surrounds their house in a village in Dadu district, which has turned fields into lakes and destroyed all of Uddin’s carefully cultivated crops, and though it is possible to wade through the water, it is not easy.

“I cannot see how we are going to get back to anything resembling normal,” Uddin told IRIN. “My elderly mother insisted we come back because she hated life in the camps .” His house has been badly damaged, and the family is living in the open, dependent on hand-outs of food. Most of the other villagers have not yet returned.

“There are around one and a half million people in Sindh who are still primarily displaced and have not been able to return home, and about another one and a half million who have managed to get close to their houses, but not move back,”  said Thomas Gurtner, the UN Principal Humanitarian Advisor for Sindh. In Dadu district there were still a “few thousand people” marooned, but it was “very hard to know exactly how many,” he said.

Most people whose homes were surrounded by water had been “reached at least once if not twice by tractors, trolleys and so on for the delivery of humanitarian aid.”Life is not easy for those who have returned home. “Things here are tough. Our house is badly damaged and we have lost all our livestock,” said Saleem Ahmed, 50, who lives in the town of Khairpur Nathan Shah in Sukkur district. “We are being forgotten, and will just have to manage on our own.”