Six months after the flood, Mir Zadi is fully engrossed in rebuilding her life
The first convoy of trucks carrying food from the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) to help people affected by the 2011 monsoon floods had arrived in early September 2011. Badin district in Sindh was the first to receive the assistance, that was consequently distributed to 2.5 million people in the worst affected districts in Sindh and Balochistan.
Mir Zadi (not her real name), from Chandio Nagar village in Badin district, travelled to the city with her one daughter and four sons to seek shelter in one of the camps set up by the government. Here she received a WFP monthly food ration, including nutritious supplements for the children, as well as shelter until she was able to return home.
“My daughter and sons had been crying for days because of hunger. The food was heaven-sent for us. We had nothing and nowhere to go,” she said.
She stayed in the camp for a month and then returned to her village. They did not want to leave their house unattended for long and wanted to start working again as soon as possible. Mir Zadi is an equal contributor in the family income. She made clay water pots for sale and took care of the house and children, while her husband built donkey carts for working the fields and took care of the house and children. To help the family pick up the pieces of their lives again, WFP provided a 'return ration' of food.
“It was important that we come back home soon, but it would not have been possible without the ration. Not having to worry about the food, my husband and I could spend our days fixing the house and restarting the work,” Mir Zadi shared. “There is still a lot of work that needs to be done, but at least we are now in a situation where we can take care of ourselves.
“I want to tell you, that food is a basic need and the first need we have to fulfill. We can sleep without shelter for days, but it is hard to sleep without food for days. When we had to go hungry for the two days when the floods hit, I promised myself that I would not let that happen to my family again or anyone I know if I can help it,” Mir Zadi told us.
Mir Zadi is an empowered woman, making 50 to 60 clay water pots a month for sale in the market for between 100-150 rupees. She tells us that it is not only economically beneficial, but also necessary, as high food prices mean it is not possible to feed the family on a single income. She says that the clay water pots are her domain, and she does not let anyone interfere. She now feels confident that she can support her husband and ensure that there is always food available for her family.
Families like Mir Zadi’s are an inspiration not only for the millions of people struggling to regain control of their lives, but also for WFP - it is stories like hers that demonstrate the positive impact of WFP's food assistance.
Under the Early Recovery Framework, WFP Pakistan is focused on conditional food/cash-for-work assistance in selected districts of Sindh and Balochistan (aiming to reach 960,000 people over the next nine months) and targeted nutritional support (aiming to target almost 289,000).
Prior to joining WFP in 2003, Amjad Jamal worked with the Pakistani Tourism Development Corporation. Currently, he is a PI Officer responsible for private sector donor relations and fund-raising in Pakistan.