Pak flood victims face uncertainty, grapple with loss

The catastrophic floods that caused unprecedented destruction in northwest Pakistan have left thousands of victims in a state of grief and shock over losing their relatives and life-long savings.

Peshawar: The catastrophic floods that
caused unprecedented destruction in northwest Pakistan have
left thousands of victims in a state of grief and shock over
losing their relatives and life-long savings.

"I have lost my house, which was my only asset. I
built it gradually during my 20 years of service," said grey-
haired Ghulam Rahim with extreme dejection clearly visible on
his face.
"I gathered my small savings and constructed the house
but now I don`t know how to rebuild a shelter for my family,"
Ghulam, a resident of Nakai area on the outskirts of Peshawar,
told agency.

Ghulam said he was also worried about how long he
would have to stay in a relief camp with his young daughters
and elderly mother.

"We want to return to our home because no-one is
comfortable living in a camp even when the government is
providing us all possible facilities," he said.

Gulab Rahim, a resident of Aagra Payan in Charsadda
district, one of the areas worst hit by the floods, is living
in the same camp after losing his home.
"Home is home ? the maxim is now understandable to me
because losing one`s house and living in a state of extreme
poverty is a very unbearable experience," he said.

"We work for daily wages and whatever we had was
inherited from our ancestors or accumulated with great
difficulty over several years," Gulab said.

Gulab lost his composure and tears rolled down his
cheeks while narrating his losses.

"Our whole life has passed in difficulties and we have
never seen prosperity. May Allah give us happiness in the life
hereafter," he murmured.

Arifa Begum, who was at a medical camp with her
daughter Sadaf, said the floods struck so suddenly that she
was unable to even gather up her four `tolas` of jewellery.

"Now, I have no money and I cannot take my daughter to
hospital for carrying out an ultrasound to treat her abdominal
pain," she said.

Arifa said her house and all her belongings were
destroyed. "We have lost everything from valuables to clothes
and utensils."
A majority of the people living at the relief camp in
a government school here are poor people who had lost their
all belongings.

They requested the government to conduct a survey to
assess losses and pay compensation so that they could rebuild
their homes.

The government should also make arrangements for
micro-loans on easy terms because mere compensation is not
enough for reconstructing their homes, they said.

However, they were thankful to the government for
providing them camps and arranging two meals a day.

"We were living on roads under the open sky with
female members of the family till the government made
arrangements to shift us to camps. We are extremely thankful
to the authorities," Hassan Gul, a resident of the camp, said.

Meanwhile, army chief Gen Ashfaq Kayani announced the
"donation of one day salary of all ranks of Pakistan Army" to
the prime minister`s relief fund for those affected by the
floods.

"Army is working at full pace and capacity to extend
maximum help to the people," he said in a statement.

PTI

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