Unrelenting floods followed by heavy monsoon rains late last year caused widespread loss of life and damage to infrastructure and livelihoods across the Rajanpur district in Punjab region of Pakistan. The flooding meant that more than 70% of agricultural land in the district was flooded, over 20,000 homes were fully or partially destroyed and 277,000 people were directly affected.
Already, Rajanpar is one of the poorest and least developed regions of Pakistan where many families struggle to make a living. Most households do not have their own agricultural lands. They either work as labourers or rent small plots for cultivation. Children from the households also work assisting their parents on the farm and most women also work as cotton pickers earning about 50 cent per day. Typically, the houses in this region are made from mud and are susceptible to flooding.
A project funded by Irish Aid and directed through Plan Pakistan has now just completed construction of almost 1,000 resilient concrete based homes. The new dwellings were built in conjunction with the families and are fitted with fire-brick sturdy walls and iron girded ceilings to make them flood resistant.
“No Fear or Worries”
This year, when the floods returned, the new homes significantly reduced the flood risk as the houses were able to withstand the worst effects of the torrential rain and flooding.
Sharifan and her children outside their new flood proof home
“My family and I are now able to sleep soundly at night,” says Sharifan Mai (50). Previously, the only room in our house was made of mud and it had no doors or windows. Many times, in recent years, floods swept through our home rendering us homeless and having to live under the open sky.
However, this time our family kept sitting inside the house because it is now made of concrete and higher than the flood water level. My children feel so happy and safe today. I am grateful to Plan for helping us with our new house.”
Plan has been operating in Pakistan since 1997, helping marginalised children to access their rights to health, education, livelihood and protection. Through long-term programmes we work with around 100 communities across the country, benefiting about 21,000 children.