Marginalized groups empowered
DilAfzal Khan is a resident of village KozBanjar,UC Pirabad, who was a coal mine worker working as daily wage labor lost his both legs in coal mine accident in Baluchistan. He spent the best years of his life the coal mine in the most challenging situation in Baluchistan, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KP)and Sindh regions. The poor financial condition of his family compelled him to work in the mining industry even in dangerous working environment and health hazards to support his family back home.
Narrating his tragic story, DilAfzal says,“It was 2015, when I was working in a coal mine in Baluchistan, an accident occurred in which I have lost my both legs. It was a terrible moment for my family at that time, as I am the only bread earner of my family. I am thankful to my relatives, village people who can help me in the early days of my treatment”. He further said,“It was the toughest period of my life as after the incident stuck to home for three years and was not able to work to feed my family.” He adds that I wanted to work even despite losing my both legs; however I couldn’t go to local bazaar for work since the lonely pedestrian bridge connecting the village with the bazzar was badly damaged by 2010 flood. Hence, it was quiet difficult for healthy people to cross the river onto the damaged bridge what to talk of a person like me having no leg. However, DilAfzal says that a ray of hope developed when I came to know an NGO started work on repairing the damaged pedestrian bridge. Atthat time I made my mind that I would set up a small business in the Bazzar to support my family. To turn the dream into reality, I started a small shop after repairing the pedestrian bridge by HIN because I enabled to access local bazaar with ease. I can now easily earn and support my family. I am really grateful to HIN for repairing the damaged pedestrian bridge due to which the vulnerable community and especially the neglected groups to which I belong enabled to earn their livelihood to support their families otherwise it was next to impossible for people like me to feed our family.
Transform from At-Risk communities to Disaster Resilient
Lawdar, a beautiful village, situated between the hillocks and surrounded by high mountains full of forests.However, the hazard timeline of UC Phirkhana shows that Lawdar is one of the most vulnerable villages which is located in the most sensitive area in term of natural disasters, as the residents of the area are prone to floods, land sliding and other natural calamities.The village was severely affected by 2005 earthquake, 2010 flood, 2014 flood and flash floods every year with massive losses. OnApril 03, 2016, the valley was once again badly affected by a flash flood that damaged the whole infrastructure including bridges, link-roads, houses, schools, pasture tracks to enter the valley and water supply schemes. The lonely ling road to Lawdar was washed away by the flood due to which people of the valley have no access to local market and other parts of the district. However, the fortune of the area changed when in 2014, an AGO known as HIN started community based disaster risk management activities in the areas to create and nurture resiliency within the communities in order to train them with better manage skills and quick response to disasters.
HIN formed Village Disaster Management Committee (VDMC) & Emergency Response Team (ERT) to ensure better response and to mitigate the negative impacts of disasters and these two teams were the first responders to tackle the April 03, 2016 flash flood situation.
Mr. Gul Rang Zada General Secretary of VDMC said,“It was midnight when I received a phone call from one of VDMC member that a thunder storm hit the top of mountains and the flow of water is increasing to downstream that will hit the village. I contacted all the VDMCs and ERTs members immediately and made all the arrangements to swiftly evacuate the stranded people to safe places. We have carried out 4 hours rescue operation in the village. He further added, “Though some of our home, schools, roads and agriculture land have been damaged, besides losing some cattle, by the grace of Allah almighty and the timely response of our team members neither anyone killed or injured that was unprecedented in human history”.
Mr. Inayat-ur-Rehman Chairman VDMC says,“I still remembered flood situation of 2010 &the 2005 devastating earthquake which caused damages to livestock and human lives. People were trapped mainly due to poor planning or having not enough knowledge to deal with such challenging situation. However, the HIN team deserved all the praise as when its team visited our area and trained us in disaster management, positive outcomes of the training could be witnessed in 2016 flood when we have saved our community from a big catastrophic.”
Get rid of challenges in mobility during emergencies
The LowderDarra is among one of the project intervention area having scattered settlements and locked by mountains from four sides that has only access through a link road which is unmetalled,rough and non-paved where sometimes only 4x4 Jeeps and Tractors can be used. During rains even Jeeps and tractors cannot reach the village because of danger of sliding at steep sites and the massive landslides. Travelling during harsh weather is nothing but to put a life at risk as many people lost lives and got injuries due to falling of jeeps from these tracks. Additionally, due to massive rains and snow-falling winters, the road broke at various places due to flow of water that even caused sometime a massive road blockage. Since there is no alternate road, the dwellers have to use the only link road communities by risking their lives. People of the area in general but women and children in particular passed through great hardships whenever they have to pass through this road in any emergency situation, as the movement of women is quite tough because of the culture constraints regarding their mobility.
Due to frequent disasters in the area i.e. floods, earthquakes and land sliding increased the vulnerabilities of the residents as such incidents have limited their access to basic facilities like health, education and even they often faced food shortage due to no access to the local market. The people of the area are ill-equipped to cope with any disastrous like situation. The whole village was totally dependent on Lawdar link road which was washed away by the flood at several places, resultantly the people were stuck in the valley and have no access to local market and other parts of the district. The community had to face great difficulties while taking the injured and patients to Olander hospital.
Keeping in view the hardship faced by the community, the HIN took up the gauntlet to construction the link roads and the organization in collaboration with DKH constructed the link road, enabling the villagers to have easy access to the markets to earning livelihood and to bring their daily use items even in heavy downpour sans any difficulty. Now people could take their patients to the nearby hospitals through this road with ease.
Farhat, 27 years old, a dweller of Lowder village, who is one of the affected women, narrated the ordeal she faced when going outside the village in emergency situation during rainy season.Farhar, who later became member of the Women Group formed by HIN staff at hamlet level, says, “It was terrible experience when I was suffering from a disease and my family decided to take me to the hospital but I was unable to go there on my foot, so they decided to take me to the hospital by stretching me out on a wooden webbing and with the help of other people.”
She further narrates the ordeal,“I was seriously ill but it was not suffering; however the way I was taken to the hospital was really painful because it hurt my self-respect and dignity as a woman.” However, now Farhat was too happy with the construction of the road as it made the community movement easy and safe to other places especially for women in emergency situation. She hails the HIN for the splendid work and remarks that the construction of the road has not only brought about positive impactson my life but of the entire community as well, as it not only reduces the risk of losing lives but save the precious time of the people. She said that keeping in view culture taboos, now we can go to hospitals through a dignified manner, because now we have an easy access to local market and other nearby places without any risk. The construction of the road made life of the villagers safer and convenient in terms of mobility. I am really thankful to HIN for the great work that made our life comfortable by enabling the community to go outside the village without any difficulty despite harsh weather.
Changing rural landscape
Kharero,a small town of village Shuniyal UC Pirkhana District Shangla, where the level of personal as well as household hygiene is very poor, as people have lack of access to adequate quantity of potable water and facilities for waste disposal due to which it is difficult for them to obtain adequate standard of domestic and personal cleanliness. However, the level of personal and domestic hygiene is relatively better among the privileged class who has socio-economic standing in the area. Unhygienic living conditions and lack of awareness health care continues to be a neglected area in the village, as they were totally unaware about water born epidemics and immunization.
However, when HIN field team started work with the community of Khariro after collecting data relating to community profile, a health improvement could be witnessed in short span of time. The HIN team tackled their problems by promoting their knowledge, attitude towards safe hygiene practices. The HIN held a two days capacity building training of women Group on Immunization process, Water purification and Maintain Good Health and Hygiene at Household Level to Reduce Epidemics and Water Borne diseases along with conducting a one day Awareness session on hygiene promotion and immunization with women community members at the hamlet level.
PervaizaBiBi,resident of Kharero, said “I really thankful to the HIN, as earlier I was not conscious to use soap and water after defecation.” She says “Our kids used open defecation instead of toilet and our females have no concept to developed habit of using latrines and even most of our women are ignorant about water borne diseases and its negative consequences on daily life.” PervaizBibi adds that they haven’t any idea about the importance of vaccination against diseases”.She further added that “now personally, I am using soap by washing hands at my home before and after meal, after handling animals, caring kids and using latrine; therefore I have made it necessary to place soap in every washing place.”
Bridge construction reduces women labor
Inzarooba,a backward hamlet of village PagoriUC Pirabad district Shangla,is having 120 HH with total population of 650. The people of the area are facing numerous problems such as infrastructure, education, health and hygiene, lack of safe drinking water, lack of awareness, malnutrition and unwariness regarding water borne epidemics and immunization.However, the most serious problem in the hamlet was lack of drinking water supply schemes due to which women of the area have to go to far flung area to fetch drinking water. Sensing the sensitivity of the situation, theHelp In Need team visited the area and decided to resolve the drinking water issue of the area. The HIN in collaboration with DKH successfully completed DWSS in the hamlet of Pagori, benefiting a total of 200 households of Inzaroooba.
Hajra Bibi said that “Before the HIN water supply scheme, I used to go some 1 to 2 KM away to fetch water on daily basis for washing clothes, utensils and drinking purpose. The water even was not suitable for drinking because both humans and animals were drinking from the same place that was uncovered. She further added that “I am grateful to HIN because on one hand we got clean drinking water but on the other it reduced our labor, besides saving our time since we have to bring water for far flung area.” HIN provided clean drinking water for us and really it has changed our life style, as now we have enough clean water for drinking purpose and even to wash cloths and utensils.
Disaster affected District expand DRR uptake
Due to absence of any mechanism of interaction among communities, humanitarian actors and government departments of district Shangla, the community suffered the most, as they were not aware of potential support they could get from local authorities for development of their area. The government authorities neither initiated any solid initiatives to address the core issues facing the communities nor made any effort to reduce their vulnerabilities.The DRR coordination and mainstreaming have always have been felt as major needs for the effectiveness and sustainability of response at all level and in all phases in District Shangla.
Keeping in view the disastrous situation of the district, the HIN laid down a foundation stone of DRR forum at district level, as before 2014, there was no such forum where civil society organizations coming together on issues of common interest in the field of DRR. A meeting was called and facilitated by Help In Need (HIN) which was attended by District commissioner (DC) Shangla, District Disaster management Officer (DDMO) Shangla, Civil society members, Officials from concerned government departments, NGOs, INGOs, political influential’s, religious clerics, community elders, Village Disaster Management (VDMC) members and local media representatives. District Commissioner Shangla chaired the meeting, and after a long deliberation ToRs for the forum was signed. It was decided, “The goal of DRR forum is to ensure that DRR initiatives would be implemented across the district, throughout “emergency”, “recovery” and “development” programming, with the close-coordination and support of all governmental and non-governmental stakeholders.”
DCO Shangla told that “By the grace of Allah Almighty now we are on the right way to do some good for the people of Shangla (DDMU Alpuri). The capacity of people has been increased drastically through different national and international organization interventions in the district the capacities due to which they are no capable to integrate DRR into their village development plan and government work plan. It was essential to establish a forum in each village where women can be given representation and to combat the negative consequences of any happening disaster. In addition, it was also critical to involve women in the process of establishing the VDMCs at village level. Therefore, work on the establishment of VDMCs (Male & female) & Emergency response teams (ERTs) was initiated and the HIN has eventually succeeded in its mission and finally established the VDMCs in the targeted villages of the District.”
Women voices now be heard, weighted
GulBano, a housewife of village chari,was elected by the community women as a chairperson of Women Group, established by Help In Need (HIN).She stated, “As a chair person of Women Group in my village, I am closely observing the situation and have knowledge what happens on daily basis in the village.” She says that due to this forum, I can be the first to be informed if there is any disaster/emergency situation arises in the area so as to inform the male VDMC members in the area as soon as possible.” She further added that “Previously I only know a little about women role in community development and especially indigenous coping mechanism regarding any disaster. However, she said that now I learned a lot and understands more due to this forum and the most important achievement of this forum is the development of CBDRM plan at the community level where all the possibilities have been made to assist the local women at any stage of unfavorable situation, as it is believed that women are the key founders to build communities more resilient.”
Fare reduction eases burden onto poor
Village Banr is one of the most vulnerable villages among the villages of UC Dehrai that was badly affected by 2005 earthquake and 2010 flood. Life standard of the people is quite poor and it could be judged from the fact that most of the people even deprived of basic needs, besides facing many social and infrastructural problems. The said community faced multi-disasters i.e. land sliding, earth quacks, floods & WBEs that have directly negative impacts on the life of the dwellers. Due to flash floods and frequent land sliding, the village often cut off from the other parts of the district, as link road is the only way to access to other parts of the district. Moreover, It is also the only evacuation route in case of any emergency like situation. HIN in its first intervention PCC the said road with cause ways, protection walls & retaining walls.
Mr. Mustaq Ahmad General Secretary of VDMC Banrsay, "The people of the area has to pay 200 PKR fare per person for local Tractors & 4wheel jeeps to reach their village that was too costly for community. The fare was fixed by drivers’ union, despite the fact that we all know that it was too much for use since the majority of the people are very poor but we can’t do anything.”He further added that after HIN PCC on the said road, we all the VDMC members along with community elders arranged a grand meeting in which we have been passed a resolution that the fare should be decreased from 200 PKR to 100 PKR per person, as the road is now in good condition and the fuel consumption of the vehicles are also reasonable reduced. To which, the drivers were agreed and now we have to pay 100 PKR which is quite affordable. The people of the area are very thankful to the HIN for the tremendous job ease it wouldn’t help reduce the financial cost for the community but as well as same their precious time
Communities capable to combat disaster negative impacts
On the eve of third DRR forum, a meeting was organized regarding District Disaster Management plan for district Shangla that was facilitated by HIN. The meeting was participated by District commissioner (DC) Shangla, District Nazim Shangla, District Disaster management Officer (DDMO) Shangla, Civil society members, Officials from concerned government departments, NGOs, INGOs, political influential’s, religious clerics, community elders, Village Disaster Management (VDMC) members & local media representatives.For the first time, a District Disaster Management plan was developed for district Shangla in order to minimize the negative impacts of disasters
Availability of safe drinking water, adaptation of safe health, hygiene practices ensured
Mahal Bibi, a35 year-old house wife, lives with her children’s Ahsanullah and Siraj, in village of Rahim Sar, where mostly people are using open springs and streams water for drinking and other domestic purposes. The streams and springs located at far away area and it takes around two hours to fetch water from those springs and streams through very risky pathway. Due to which the community of the village was using poor quality contaminated water, causing water borne and other infectious diseases. Diarrhea was the main cause of morbidity and mortality in said community.She said,“In our community, children are sick every year with diarrhea mainly due to contaminated water.” Polluted water and poorly set up waste disposal maximized the risk leading to infectious illnesses and water borne epidemics such as diarrhea and cholera. She continued by adding,“My health condition is weak and I have to cross the narrow risky way every day for collecting water, I fall many time due to which sustained injuries multiple time.” Mahal Bibi says that it is also against our cultural values to go out without blood relatives due to which we have to face great problems.
She says, “When I felt sick, my elder son IhsanUllah, ten years old was studying in class 5th and Siraj seven years old was in class 3rd were collecting water from far away springs and their teachers often complaint many time that your children were absent from school and have short attendance." The community is thankful to HIN for completion of water supply scheme constructed by HIN.
Mahal Bibi stated,“Now My family and entire community is very happy with the setting up of water supply scheme, as now I have more time to spend with my children, their hygiene and other domestic chores.” She says, “I have more time for social interaction with my relatives and friends, and now my children can fully focus on their studies and a positive reports are coming from their teachers regarding their school works and attendance rate.”
The water supply scheme not just improved her health and hygiene condition but also played a vital role in economic development and other agriculture activities. As she said, “I have more time to work in field and in kitchen gardening, resulting in increasing of production of vegetables that also became a good source of income due to which my economic condition witnessed a positive impacts.”
She further added, “After getting proper session on water treatment from HIN staff, I am regularly checking the water if I found any impurity, odor color, I process the water through boiling or other water purification method that made my family safe from diseases.”
Mahal Bibi also play an important role in community hygiene, and voluntarily visit to their neighbors to promote good health and a clean environment, as she says,“One dirty house can affect others neighbors and contribute to the spread of disease, so I often visit neighbors and talk about importance of hygiene”.
Mahal Bibi said, “I observes a remarkable change in my life style for which I am really grateful to the HIN, as earlier I have no idea about such things.” “Water is our lifeline, and HIN provided clean drinking water for us at our settlements, I personally, and on the behalf of community, appreciated the efforts of HIN, as it not only helped ease our woes but it also helped keep our children safe from water borne diseases,” she concluded.