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.