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Notes from the Field
Posted by: BARUME BISIMWA ZIBA at 3:19AM EST on March 22, 2013
Im BARUME BISIMWA ZIBA Secourist Red -Cross in Uvira south-kivu rep democratic of congo im looking for a jobs in rdcongo .contact mail firstname.lastname@example.org tel 243 971603199 243 853195164 . fanks for your helping job .
Posted by: Evin Phoenix at 4:10AM EST on January 13, 2013
Posted by: Daniel Fava at 3:38PM EST on August 28, 2012
By Marie-Eve Bertrand, CARE Canada
In this region of the world right now, there is a food crisis, caused by a combination of events: a poor rainy season last year which causes the water level of the Niger River to stay very low and crops to wither, chronic poverty, environmental degradation, all resulting in poor harvests and a sharp increase in prices. A crisis hitting a region that already experiences chronic malnutrition and food insecurity. According to the Malian Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries, the situation of pastoral communities is at high risk, with even the livestock losing weight because of the lack of grass and water.
Follow me as I meet with the inhabitants of the Swala village in the Djenné region, an hour and a half from Mopti, a town in the middle of Mali.
There were eight of us in the vehicle, including the driver, three colleagues from CARE, the A.A.D.I (our local NGO partner). coordinator and, as well as its president, her grandson and me. And of course, since Malians are very generous, I had the honor of having the front seat to myself. When we turned the corner around the village wall, I heard the percussion instruments, a warm and joyful melody. Then songs. And then I saw them. There were hundreds of women, men and children waiting for our arrival for the second food distribution in their village in two months. The women were dancing, the men were playing tambourines. It was a party in our honour. A wave of tenderness rose within me, a wave of solidarity... a wave of humility. They are the ones who should be celebrated for their courage, their strength. They surrounded me with their warmth, their joy for life. Behind my sunglasses, tears flowed. Like when you feel unworthy of such an honour, or too small for all the love.
They danced all the way to the village chief’s hut. It is an ancient village, very old. A village with walls of mud, thatched roofs, holes for windows. And everyone was squeezed into this small space. Us, the dignitaries, on mats. Them, directly on the ground. They were all so beautiful, smiling, proud.
The village chief’s representative spoke, taking the time to greet us, to thank us. His name is Dramane Coulibaly. "We thank you for this gift of food and your visit that is so precious to us. Before you came, we had no hope, and we didn’t know what to do to continue, to be able to feed our families. The first CARE food distribution eased our empty stomachs, but it wasn’t enough. More than half of us weren’t helped. All of our village suffers from hunger," he said. "Because the women are the ones who can best tell you about the challenges we face." Dramane told me.
Then Pointou Coulibaly, the president of the women spoke. "We are so happy that you are visiting us. Our storehouses have been empty for a long time, because the rains weren’t good for us last season. Our harvests were insufficient last year, and we are suffering from it. Our people farm the land to live, and we usually sell our products. But last year, there wasn’t even enough to feed our families, so selling was impossible. Our only concern is to feed ourselves. Because without food, our children are sick. They cannot go to school because they don’t have the strength," she told us while sitting among her loved ones.
"It is true that hunger pangs make us suffer, when we are used to eating three meals per day, we become rather inefficient... now we have a meal with a little meat and potatoes in the evening and some millet or rice if we are lucky at noon," she continues.
"Half of the families couldn’t have food because of criteria and limits set by the World Food Program. But you know, we are people who stick together. Malian solidarity. It is out of the question for us to let our neighbour go hungry and suffer. So we all share what little we have. We prefer to have less, but to have peace of mind, because we helped those around us."
Generosity, solidarity. That puts the focus back where it should be, when you realise that to share, you don’t need a lot, you just need a big heart. It was the whole village that gathered to thank us, because it is the entire community who benefits from CARE’s assistance.
Their economy rests on three main thrusts in the region: agriculture, livestock and tourism. Rain didn’t fall from the skies last year, and the storehouses are still empty. And even though it has been raining recently, no one knows what tomorrow holds, and there are still four months to wait before the next harvest. The price of rice is ever-increasing. People are hungry. Thirsty. But they are proud and hard-working. Plus there is the livestock that have fallen. The animals were too hungry and thirsty too. Some died; the remaining ones are very thin. Too thin. So the sale of livestock has suffered, as well as the demand, because people don’t have much money, since tourism has fallen off. The tourists who also ate the meat are no longer coming, because they are afraid of the political insecurity in the northern region of the country. The region here, like the famous town of Timbuktu, is classified as a world heritage. Here, you find the history of centuries and centuries of hard work, majestic sites, vestiges of the past. Places that are so old, so different. But that no longer have as many tourists as before.
The oldest person in the village, as they call him, spoke, "Ma’am, I would like to make a request for our survival. Give us efficient tools to farm, seeds that will grow and knowledge to improve our harvest. We are farmers and we want to work to fill our storehouses."
And that is when I understood that these proud and courageous people in front of me had, themselves, understood the essence of development. They know that food distribution is temporary and aspire to becoming self-sufficient once again. They are capable of working; we have the resources to help them prepare for the future and build resiliency plans.
As the meeting was ending, the village chief motioned me to come forward so he could give me a packet with nuts. Kola nuts in fact. A gift that is reserved for great occasions, great celebrations. A rare gift.
I left with a heart full of hope, love and pride. I left with my hands full of a gift that touched me. But also with a full stomach. Because from the little they had, the villagers made us a meal. Malian solidarity.
Posted by: Staci Dixon at 11:27AM EST on June 1, 2012
by Andisheh Nouraee
The World Economic Forum on East Asia opened today in Bangkok. Forum sessions will focus on physical and economic connectivity in East Asia and are available online at weforum.org.
We always try to follow meetings like these, but we're paying extra close attention this time because our president and CEO, Helene Gayle, is a forum co-chair (see photo below). I think it's the first time the head of an NGO has chaired the forum. I could be wrong. Regardless, it's an honor.
The event is getting more international press than usual because one of the attendees is Nobel laureate and newly-elected parliamentarian Daw Aung San Suu Kyi of Myanmar. It's her first trip outside Myanmar since 1988. In an interview with Voice of America, Dr. Gayle called Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi's presence incredibly significant and an opportunity to improve her country's dialogue with the rest of the region. Forum attendee and Accenture Development Partnerships Executive Director Gib Bulloch described her slightly differently, dubbing her the "Davos man's answer to Lady Gaga."
Posted by: Daniel Fava at 10:54AM EST on December 21, 2011
By Richard Wecker – CARE International in Vietnam
Nguyen Van Ngat lives with his wife, Le Thi San, and their four daughters on the edge of Tra Su national landscape reservation, near Văn Giáo commune of Tịnh Biên district.
The tree-lined road to their home remains some four metres below the surface of what is now a lake. Water levels have remained high for six weeks after the peak of the floods in An Giang province, Vietnam.
Ngat and his neighbours had the experience and foresight to elevate their wooden floors in preparation for this flood season. Their homes are sitting just above the water, propped up by makeshift stilts. "We were aware the floods would be high this season so we helped each other to prepare," he says. Without knowing the signs to look for and without taking heed of warnings, the family of six would otherwise be stranded, homeless.
At first glance, this isolated cluster of floating houses look purpose built, however all of inhabitants tread lightly as the renovations were rushed and the support beams were weakened by termites prior to the floods. "We need to reinforce our house as it may collapse at anytime but we have no money to do this," Ngat says. Many of the houses in his area were evacuated before the peak of the floods. Some residents have returned but many cannot live in their house due to risk it may collapse.
Ngat usually works as a hire-labourer, mainly farming rice, however his usual employers have no work for him. Seasonal flooding is normal in this part of the world but this year the water has reached record highs, destroying a large amount of the season's crop and creating a risk of poor people going hungry since they are the most affected. There are many people in Ngat's position, who is now faced with the challenge of feeding himself and his family for the next 3-6 months until floodwaters recede and the next season comes around.
Ngat usually fishes to supplement the family's income but the wind and tides are in motion, unsettling what might otherwise be a surrounding bounty for his family.
Furthermore, his fishing tackle is old and worn and his boat has holes in it. What Mr Ngat might catch on a good day might fetch 20-30.000 VND (US$1-1.50) at the market, which could buy just enough rice for the whole family of six. He expects the calm to return in December but he insists: "the weather has been unpredictable in recent years and no one can say what the future will bring".
Ngat's wife San suffers from chronic heart disease and so the eldest daughter stays at home to take care of her and the younger siblings. Occasionally she will also go out fishing with her father, leaving the house early in the morning to return around lunch time.
Of the four girls only one goes to school. She had been faring the floodwaters by boat with no safety gear and would take raw rice from the family's reserve rations for her teacher to prepare her lunch. As Ngat and San cannot pick up their daughter from school they rely on other members of the community to watch after her.
The lights of this household are extinguished early and the evening meals of rationed rice are cleared quickly to avoid attracting the swarms of mosquitoes from the nature reservation - dengue is rife this time of year. It's a precarious situation for Ngat and his family but they are looking out for each other.
CARE International in Vietnam has provided immediate food support to strengthen to capacity of people affected by the floods.
Ngat and his family are one of over 1,000 households in An Giang province that have received immediate food support. "It's enough for us to live for a month, we are very grateful for the support," Ngat says. Follow-up distributions are intended to provide additional support during this period while livelihoods have been disrupted. Any subsistence stocks of rice that remain in his area are inaccessible. Having this staple will prevent him and his family from falling in to a credit-debt spiral that threatens to prolong this period of hardship.
CARE has also distributed non-food items funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to strengthen the coping capacity of communities at high risk from the floods, including elderly people with little family support, people with disabilities, female-headed households with dependent children and infants, as well as poor families, landless families and those reliant on casual labour.
Ngat and San's daughter can now take filtered water to school in a bottle after they received a silver-impregnated water filter and training on how to manage their water using this device. They also received mosquito nets that will help to protect them from the mosquito swarms at night; hygiene kits to reduce the risk of contracting water-borne diseases or infections; a 10 litre bucket for hauling water; blankets for the coming cool months and lifejackets.
CARE is working with communities to plan how they can provide further support to families such during this peak-flood period and over the course of the next 3 to 6 months. The plans are to focus on livelihoods support while the water levels recede and families such as Ngat and San's wait for the next rice harvest season.
Posted by: Daniel Fava at 10:33AM EST on December 21, 2011
Richard Wecker – CARE International in Vietnam
Le Thi Dieu is 72 years-of-age but she possesses the sharp wit of a curious teenager. She offers her warm smile and laughs aloud, speaking candidly of her life in An Giang province - one of the most flood-prone areas of the Mekong Delta in Vietnam.
For many years Ba Dieu had resided under a makeshift shelter on the banks of the river only 10 minutes by boat from the centre of Thạnh Mỹ Tây Commune. She recounts stories of trudging through floodwaters, her house being uprooted and searching for food.
In her recent years, Ba Dieu has supported herself by collecting morning glory (an Asian vegetable) and selling it at the market to buy rice to eat. A day's collection might amount to VND 10.000 (US$0.50).
The Mekong Delta is her home and she has lived in this region her whole life.
An Giang is the northern most province of the Mekong Delta in Vietnam, which borders with Cambodia - the start of the floodplain. The floods are the source of livelihoods in this region as rich sediment and ample water moving downstream creates a nourishing environment for rice production. However, every so often – like this season – the floods are beyond normal levels, destroying the current crop and disrupting farming for some time after. This year the water has peaked at levels that were last recorded during the devastating floods in 2000, putting people like Ms Dieu in a serious situation. "I hadn't eaten rice for 2-3 days," Ba Dieu says.
Ba Dieu received a fortnight's worth of rations in an immediate distribution of food from CARE International in Vietnam. "I was so happy when I received the invitation to collect my rice. It means I now have enough to eat and I don't need to borrow from other people in the area. It's enough to support myself and my family for my family during the most difficult time of this flood," she says.
Ba Dieu says that she decided to give one of the three 10 kilogram rice bags she received to her adult son. "His eyesight is poor and it's difficult for him at this time too. It's hard to catch fish as the winds are still strong," she says, "he helps me tend to the garden and lift heavy things."
CARE's food distribution aimed to provide assistance for the most vulnerable people - the poor, women-headed households, people with disabilities and the elderly in flood-affected areas of An Giang. The food rations were intended to strengthen the coping capacity of the community while floodwaters remained high.
The area where Ba Dieu lives is surrounded by a ring dyke that has protected her from the full force of the floods, however she recounts when the floodwaters of previous years would rise between the cracks of her house. Ba Dieu smiles as she says: "if the dyke holds, I can survive like this".
It's a difficult time for many people living with the floods, especially this year, but Ba Dieu refrains from complaining about her own circumstances. Her strong character and charm has kept her in good stead with the community as a support network.
CARE International in Vietnam will provide additional food distributions to strengthen the coping capacity of at-risk communities in An Giang province. Livelihood interventions are also being planned in consultation with local communities to assist with the recovery period for 3 to 6 months from now.
Posted by: Daniel Fava at 3:51PM EST on November 28, 2011
Women have long been victims of gender based violence, especially in countries like Nepal. Women, particularly from poor vulnerable and excluded communities, live a life where they are made to believe that it is they are destined to suffer and nothing can be done about it.
However, there are some cases where awareness is being brought about in communities to help women feel that they were not born to suffer. CARE believes that a woman alone could feel helpless. By organizing her into a group she will find friend who will help her fight for her rights. Through group meetings, she will find a platform to share her woes and feelings and apparently will be strong enough to seek for justice for herself.
The story below is also about a woman, who with the help of her Peace Promotion Group could find justice for herself and her son. This is the story of 25 year old Amina Khatun who was a resident of Gonaha VDC of Rupandehi district in Nepal and belonged to the Muslim community. She dared to defy to her husband's atrocities and seek a peaceful life for herself and her son. Not just that, with the support from CARE Nepal's Woman and Youth Pillars of Sustainable Peace (WYPSP) program.
It was sometime around the first week of May when Amina's husband eloped with another woman from the same VDC. This broke down Amina. . "After knowing that my husband got married to someone else, I was shattered", Khatun shares .One could easily make out from her voice about the fury, pain and despair she was going through. She was disturbed. Yet she tried to"adjust" and "compromise" for the sake of her family. However, after her efforts were not appreciated by the family or the husband, she started questioning herself. She felt it was a humiliation for her and her dignity. "Love alone is not enough if it not reciprocated. I tried to compromise without thinking about myself but I could not continue any longer. She never got love or affection from her husband and his family or his family. Instead, she was looked as upon as a burden.
The firm decision Having felt that her husband and his family would not support her, Amina decided that she had to seek a divorce and start a new life. It was not as easy to take such a decision for a woman in Nepal, that too for someone belonging to the Muslim community. The divorce left Khatun penniless. She could not even send her son to school even after the age of 5. However, she accepted the challenge.
The support from Peace Ambassadors and Peace Builders : Member of Peace Pressure Group (PPG) and Peace Group (PG) formed under the WYPSP project were aware about the tension in Khatun's family. The issue was discussed in PPG meeting in the third week of May, 2011 and Peace ambassadors Ajaya Kumar Yadav communicated with Diwani Ghimire, Peace Builder at Peace Centre Rupandehi, asking if WYPSP team could do something for her. "After Diwani agreed, we first took her to mediation", Yadav said. After few days of the mediation, WYPSP team reached to Khatun's family and tried to reconcile. "However, our effort turned vain when both Sansudhin Dhuniya and Khatun, expressed their desire for separation", says Diwani.
Both of them were avoiding the reconciliation. Then the WYPSP team, along with other community people discussed on the compensation package on 7 June, 2011. "At first Khatun proposed that her husband should pay her 2 lakhs and 40 thousands rupees as compensation", Yadav shares. Also, she demanded some money for the upbringing of her 5 year old son. As Diwani Ghimire, Ajaya Yadav and community people were in Khatun's favor, her husband Samshudhin Dhuniya had no option, but to agree to compensate some money. Eventually, Samshudhin Dhuniya proposed to offer her Rs. 80,000 as compensation and Khatun agreed to it. Other agreements made that day were : a) Samsudhin Dhuniya offers Rs 2,000/ month to Khatun for their son's expense, b) Samsudhin Dhuniya initiate the process for birth registration of their son and c) Legal process for the divorce will be initiated in mutual consent . Yadav and Dhuniya followed up the case regularly.
Samsudhin Dhuniya offered her Rs 40,000 on June 8, 2011 and remaining 40,000 on August 18, 2011. Also, he is committed to offer Rs. 2,000 per months for his upbringing and education of their child. "By now, Khatun's son's name is registered in VDC office and the divorce application has been filed in District Court", Peace Ambassador Yadav Shares.
Khatun at present : At present, Khatun and her son are living a happy life in Khatun's maternal home in Badihati village of Maharajgunj district of India. "Now, I have learnt to live a happy life amid the sufferings, admits Katun. She wants her to send her to school and give him good education. Khatun is grateful to WYPSP team for taking initiation for the compensation package, which she believes, wasn't possible, if there was no effort from WYPSP.
WYPSP is a project funded by the European Union and implanted by CARE Nepal with the support from local NGOs.The overall objective of the Program is to develop capacity of civil society networks to engage poor, vulnerable and socially excluded (PVSE) groups of women and youth in the process of influencing a democratic constitution in Nepal, leading towards sustainable peace and the achievement of their aspirations.
With the intervention of WYPSP, issues of women especially from Poor, Vulnerable and Socially Excluded (PVSE) population have been advocated in positive light in the working. Numerous efforts are underway to reinstate the right of PVSE women who are in domestic violence, social stigma and are facing social discrimination. The project was started in January 2008. It intends to benefit 65000 PVSE people by 2012.
Posted by: Intel IESC at 8:22PM EST on November 10, 2011
The Intel Education Service Corps (IESC) is a short-term service and career development opportunity for Intel employees to support the deployment of Intel classmate PCs in developing countries. In this blog, Heather Levin, an applications engineer at Intel, recaps her team's first week of experiences in India working with CARE in Hardoi.
As we walked through the gates of the Sarvodaya Ashram on Tuesday morning, it was clear that we had entered a sanctuary. Four groups of 25 girls were seated on the floor, engaged with each other, their teacher, and their studies. Perhaps these girls have known suffering but you would never have known it from their faces. It was clear that the Udaan school – supported by CARE India and designed to help girls catch up from a gap in their schooling – has created a nurturing family where the girls feel safe and are able to focus on their development.
The girl’s faces were shy and curious as they began their first computer class. Within minutes, they were engaged and actively exploring what we had shown them. We had prepared more advanced lesson plans, but we had to adapt and adjust as so many of the fundamental skills that are engrained in us are new to them. In addition, we had created an Excel wedding budget lesson plan, but the girls informed us that weddings come only after their studies.
So we focused on practical skills like navigating the desktop, using a mouse, opening, saving, and formatting but always ended class with an activity that thrilled them. The girls were mesmerized by the use of the classmate PC’s camera, snapping pictures of themselves, their teachers, and us. The typing and math games we introduced not only reinforced the children’s ability but inspired a teacher, who had previously stated that she only wanted one hour of computer usage per week, to say that she would start using the software as part of her math curriculum. The girls quickly grew more confident and began navigating the computer and practicing addition, subtraction, and multiplication. We tried to plant at least one seed in their imagination, and each day they left class sparkling with delight, waving, and shouting Namaste to us.
On our last day we taught the girls basic robotics by having them build crocodiles, monkeys, and planes from a LEGO Education product called WeDo, which contains not only LEGO pieces but a USB-powered motor with various sensors and a visual programming interface that runs on the classmate PC. Yesterday, none of the girls knew what robots were, but today they built and programmed their own. The click of their minds as new neural networks were manifested, on some level, seemed to shift our future. Set in motion, inspired by the congregation of forces – locals, CARE, Intel, and us – there is no bound to what these girls can do. Each girl that we help helps another, and thus, not only the girls themselves, but our dreams of a better world, take flight.
Posted by: Daniel Fava at 11:45AM EST on November 7, 2011
Interview with Promboon Panitchpakdi, Executive Director Raks Thai Foundation (CARE Thailand)
Thailand has been experiencing severe floods for several weeks now. How is the situation at the moment?
The main amount of water is still in the central provinces and in some areas it has risen up to three meters. People need boats or trucks to move around and provide assistance to those in need. More than 300 people died, mainly due to drowning and electric shocks. The provinces will stay inundated for at least one more month, some even longer.
How have the floods affected Bangkok?
What are the main needs of the population?
But those affected most are marginalized groups, such as migrant workers. There are around three million migrant workers in Thailand that live here either with or without documents, most of them coming from Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos. They separate themselves from the Thai population through their language, uncertain status and fear of extortion. There is a real risk that they will be excluded from relief efforts. Migrant workers who are staying in apartment buildings are isolated, many are lacking food, water and other basic supplies and some of them have no access to public health services. They cannot travel to their homelands because their travel documents are often kept by their employer. Many have lost their jobs and their means to support their families.
How is Raks Thai assisting the migrant workers?
Raks Thai Foundation was established in 1997 and became a member of CARE International in 2003. The organization employs 286 staff, 47 of which are nationalities of the migrant workers in Thailand. Raks Thai has responded to the 2004 tsunami and provided support to 113 communities in Thailand. Since then Raks Thai Foundation has implemented emergency response programs to several floods that hit the country.
Posted by: Daniel Fava at 11:24AM EST on November 7, 2011
Acting Country Director, Bill Pennington for CARE Cambodia
November 11, 2011
As part of a CARE's emergency response team in Cambodia I've been responding to South-East Asia's worst flooding in a decade.
The Mekong and Tonle Sap rivers have been at emergency flood levels for over a month now and unfortunately 247 people have died and 18 out of 24 provinces in Cambodia have suffered damage with Kandal, Kampong Thom, Prey Veng and Kampong Cham being the worst affected.
Whilst exact numbers are still hard to clarify it's estimated that more than 1.5 million people have been directly affected and more than 46,000 households evacuated.
The impact on livelihoods, especially for poorer rural families is looking dire with early reports suggesting that 405,686 hectares of lush rice fields have been damaged with more than 230,000 hectares reported as potentially destroyed which represents 9.4 per cent of total the crop.
I read a report in a local newspaper yesterday (Thursday 27 October) which said that some evacuated families have started returning home to their flood wrecked villages as the waters slowly recede in along the Mekong River and other parts of the country.
No such luck for Lower Mekong provinces such as Prey Veng, which is one of the worst affected areas. This is where my CARE team is working with people in urgent need of emergency supplies,
In Prey Veng, the flood has affected almost 79,000 hectares of rice paddies and 45,000 hectares are estimated to have been destroyed. Many farmers take out agricultural loans for seeds and fertilizer at the beginning of the growing season, and pay the loan back following harvest. This season, many of these farmers will be significantly in debt. Requests are being received for CARE to provide seeds from fast maturing rice varieties as a matter of urgency, as well as other assistance, so that affected households can replant as quickly as possible.
At this time I believe the three greatest needs for people affected by the floods here in Cambodia are immediate food, water and hygiene and of course restoring livelihoods.
On Thursday 27 October, the CARE team distributed assistance to the most badly affected families in Prey Sneat commune, Prey Veng Province. This was part of a wider program in the same province to support more than a thousand families, who have had their homes destroyed or damaged, lost assets and had their livelihoods placed at risk due to the Mekong floods.
Distributing packages to the 337 families in Prey Sneat meant that families received essential food items, blankets, mosquito nets, hygiene kits and water filters, with nearly 17 tonnes of rice supplied by the World Food Program. Transport and logistics were assisted through a generous donation from Glaxo Smith Kline.
Posted by: Daniel Fava at 11:13AM EST on November 7, 2011
Lara Franzen, Emergency Advisor, CARE International Vietnam
November 11, 2011
Sitting three deep in a glorified canoe, I’m carefully motored across the Plane of Reeds on the Mekong Delta in south west Vietnam.
I'm told that six metres below the water’s surface sit rice fields, land which only a month ago held hope of a buster harvest, with it the offerings of a livelihood and a helping hand out of extreme poverty.
I'm wholly aware of the abnormality of the sights which surround me; the tops of thatched houses, immersed headstones of sacred graveyards and the surreal experience of being at head height with the electrical wires.
I was not prepared for the sheer number of stranded households, completely cut off by oceans of flood waters. As we drift along, a three generation family meets our gaze with a smile. Resilient and adaptive, they are finding comfort in maintaining what remains of their normal routine, washing clothes in the flood waters and children fishing from the communal living space.
Those families, whose houses are completely immersed, have been moved to higher ground by the Government but those families with only partially flooded houses are forced to stay where they are.
We drive straight into the living area of a wooden house and find two women in their mid-thirties and five children itching with boredom. The District People’s Committee has closed all the schools to prevent more drowning from children travelling in the unsafe and unpredictable flood waters.
We squeeze into the one room house and I notice the organised chaos. One corner is filled with piglets, another with baby chicks guarded by their wary mother, another corner is reserved for the storage of cooking utensils and a near empty bag of rice with the remaining area reserved for sleeping.
Just centimetres beneath the haphazard floor boards, water is lapping and a shoe floats by. I wonder if it belongs to the woman and whether I should pluck it from the flood waters?
A three year old boy lies in a deep sleep in a slung hammock, his cheeks are flushed and the mother tells me he is ill with diarrhea. With no latrine and no dry land in reach, the family is defecating in the flood waters.
The sick boy's family is surviving on rationing a 10kg bag of rice given to them by the local Buddhist pagoda. I ignorantly asked where they were getting their drinking water from and the mother points to the water beneath us.
A few house visits later, I am told to roll up my cargo pants and hop into the flood water. We are trying to access a cluster of houses in a village in Hau Thanh Dong commune.
After wading through the water, we reach a house which is partially submerged. I am directed to perch on the floor boards and am conscious of not wetting the house further with my drenched lower half.
The house occupants are an elderly disabled couple. Their legs either missing or deformed from bomb blasts during the Vietnam War. Their sinewy faces are marked with age, each wrinkle or crease telling stories of hot days in the sun, trying to make a living in this vulnerable environment. Unable to climb in and out of boats and with no source of income, the elderly couple eats only rice and survives on an occasional allocation of small fish gifted by neighbors in the village.
Too poor to move, these households living in the Mekong Delta are vulnerable to annual flooding.
Without immediate relief, families like these are at certain risk of food insecurity, hunger and ill health from the poor sanitation and hygiene conditions.
The quantity of water in the world never changes, it is constant. With so much water in South East Asia at the moment, I am baffled by where in the world must be equally as dry as we are wet?
Perhaps this counters the extreme we are currently seeing on our television screens from the Horn of Africa? Climate change arguments are meaningless to those families stranded now by famine or flood but both share the dilemma of where their next bowl of food will come from.
CARE International in Vietnam is responding and I am proud to be a part of this organisation.
Posted by: DR.DHIRES KUMAR CHOWDHURY at 4:52PM EST on July 29, 2011
KOLKATA- STATUS OF ELDERLY POPULATION
Though modern medicine and improved health facilities have contributed to better life expectancy and a huge increase in India’s elderly population in the past 50 years, geriatric medicine and social security measures have failed to keep pace. Consequently, increased longevity, breaking up of the joint family and lack of geriatric care have left the elderly helpless in most cities and towns, this despite the declaration of the National Policy for Older Persons by the Government of India in 1999. Currently, 81 million population is made up of the elderly out of which 30% are absolutely single. Yet, financial and other constraints prevent geriatric wards from being set up in rural and urban centre by the government.
In Kolkata more or less scenario is also similar like other part of India.
On economical/financial point of view these Senior Citizens are categorized in to 3 parts:-
♦From Low Socioeconomic Group/Underpriviledged Group
♦From Middle Class
♦From Higher Class
As per their economic condition these elderly people are suffering from mainly 4 types of Insecurity:-
Due to low income or no pension system or more no of family members in
Health is one of the prime concern for elderly population.
Emotional insecurity is mainly seen in elderly population
Legal insecurity is another main concern for our elderly people.
The free legal cell of Calcutta High Court offers help to the elderly.
FEW IMPORTANT LAW IN FAVOR OF ELDERLY:-
● An elderly woman facing abuse or turned out of the house by her children can also lodge a complaint under the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005. If there is any evidence of abuse the children can be jailed.
●A male victim can seek justice under Section 323 of the Indian Penal Code.
●The Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007, has had few takers so far, says Calcutta High Court advocate Jaymalya Bagchi. But this Act compels a child or heir to provide maintenance, including food, clothing, residence and medical attendance, up to Rs 10,000 to parents, including adoptive parents or step-parents.
SOME SIGNIFICANT INFORMATION REGARDING ELDERLY CARE IN KOLKATA:-
♠ FIRST GERIATRIC CONSULTANT:-
DR.KOUSHIK MAJUMDER,MRCP,FRCP-Presently attached with NNC
MEDICAL COLLEGE HOSPITAL ON 04.08.2001
CALCUTTA NATIONAL MEDICAL COLLEGE
BANCHBO healing touch(www.banchbo.org.in),HELP DESK-(91)9903388556/9231914390
♠ FIRST TRAINING INSTITUTE ON GERONTOLOGY:-
Calcutta Metropolitan Institute of Gerontology
KEY PERSON RELATED WITH GERIATRIC CARE IN KOLKATA:-
♦DR.KOUSHIK MAJUMDER,MRCP,FRCP-Geriatric Consultant, Founder of CARES
♦DR.POOVIAH- Geriatric Consultant,AMRI
♦DR.SUBRATA MAITRA-Geriatric Consultant.
♦DR.SUDIPTA KR.SEN-Eminent Medicine Consultant.
♦DR.A.K.ROY CHOWDHURY- Eminent Physician,Chief Medical Adviser,
♦DR.DHIRES KR.CHOWDHURY- Chief Functionary, BANCHBO healing touch.
♦DR.INDRANI CHAKRABORTY- Director, Calcutta Metropolitan Institute of Gerontology.
♦AMIT ROY-President, Safhi.
♦DR.DIPANKAR DEBNATH-Geriatric Consultant. Institute of Geriatric Care & Research.
HELP A CALL AWAY (ORGANISATION FOR ELDERLY CARE IN KOLKATA):-
♥ Pronam: (033)24190740
♥ Dignity Foundation: (033)30690999
♥ Helpage India: 1800-345-1253
♥ BANCHBO healing touch: (033)65160058,(91)9903388556
♥ Saanjhbaati: (91)9748856000
♥ CARES: (91)9830779291
♥ SOCIETY OF GERIATRIC ANIMATOR: (033)65197474
♥ Institute of Geriatric Care & Research: (91)9830372605
♣ SIGNIFICANT DAY CELEBRATION FOR ELDERLY:-
1ST OCTOBER, INTERNATIONAL SENIOR CITIZEN DAY,
Posted by: DR.DHIRES KUMAR CHOWDHURY at 4:13PM EST on July 29, 2011
Reputed NGO of Kolkata- "BANCHBO" organized a cultural event in the occasion of Formal launching of "VIKASHITA- a brighter future"- Educational Project for Sundarban Children in association with SULEKHA-famous bengali corporate and "Banchbo - Indranaraynpur Mahila Samity"-for empowerment of Sundarban Women,Prize distribution ceremony of "Sharad Samman -2010"-selected by Underpriviledged & Street Children & Senior Citizen and Scholarship and felicitation to Meritorious Students of Sundarban on 13th July, Friday,2011 at 6 pm – 9 pm. at Dr. Triguna Sen Hall.
Award ceremony of "Sharad Samman-2010".
Formal launching of "VIKASHITA- a brighter future Project"
Formal launching of "Banchbo Indranaraynpur Mahila Samity"-products of
mahila samity(pickle, tomato sauce,kasundi etc) marketed by Sulekha in the brand name-"LADY MADE"
"Late Sankar Prasad Chowdhury Scholarship" to AMINUDDIN GAZI(S/O Van Rickshaw Puller in Sundarban),secured 88%marks in 2011
Power point presentation on activities of BANCHBO by Kuhu Chowdhury & Sushil Sharma.
Dance Composition-"Sundarban Garber Dhan"- based on Sundarban,performed by Children of Sundarban & Kolkata.
Posted by: Jon Thompson at 11:07AM EST on April 15, 2011
By Futaba Kaiharazuka, (Assistant Program Director, Emergency Response, CARE Japan)
In one of the evacuation centers where CARE Japan is providing hot meals, there is a man with perfectly groomed hair who wears a certain jacket. The man is in his late 60s or early 70s and always joins in the aid work at the center, volunteering to help with the heavy lifting. He is one of those people who is always courteous and never stops smiling.
One member of the CARE team had the chance to chat with him a few days ago during the food distribution. His house, like many of the disaster victims, and all his household possessions were washed away. When the tsunami struck he was wearing the same jacket he now wears all the time. He explained that he wears the jacket not because he cannot change his clothes; the evacuation center has received many relief items including clothing and underwear, rather, he wears it because out of all his personal possessions, his jacket is the only item that survived the tsunami. “Everything I had was washed away, but I am a fighter”, he said with his usual smile whilst chatting to the kitchen staff. There is a mountain of relief goods such as clothes and new items that have been delivered, but despite this, he feels wearing his own jacket gives him the strength and courage to go on.
In the midst of such great post-disaster disorder, CARE sees countless examples of people helping each other through the chaos, despite the severity of their own circumstances. The old man’s story shows the strength and courage of these people who are determined to pick themselves up again.
Posted by: Jon Thompson at 11:01AM EST on April 15, 2011
By Yuko Ota, (Assistant Program Officer, Emergency Response, CARE Japan)
The CARE Japan team visited a family of 11 members including a grandfather, his daughter and her husband (in their 50s), a grandchild, two great-granddaughters (eight and two years old) as well as five relatives who had lost their house. The lived in Kirikiri district in the city of Otsuchi in Iwate Prefecture, one of the regions that was most destroyed by a massive tsunami on March 11. The sun was setting as the CARE team arrived so there was a chill in the air – but this area hasn't yet had the water or gas supply restored so the family could not use the heater in the living room. The temperature indoors was almost the same as outside.
We talked to the mother and she told us that electricity has still not been restored. ''A few days ago our neighbors let us share some of their power supply. For the first time in one month we saw the extent of the damage on TV'', she said. ''Until then we had no information at all, and since seeing the vast scale of destruction in Tohoku on TV, I cry everyday.'' She described witnessing the sheer might of the tsunami approaching: ''I thought tsunamis were noisy splashing waves. But the tsunami last month crept in silently and in an instant swept away houses and everything else in its path.''
When the earthquake struck, her grandmother was on her way to collect the great-grandchild from Kirikiri elementary school. ''She was swept away by the tsunami, was missing, and then nine days later her body was found'', described the mother through her tears. They finally found a crematorium and were told that usually bodies would be cremated within three days of being found, but there were so many bodies in that area that a regional mass funeral is scheduled to be held at a temple on 29th April.
The mother continued explaining how the first three nights after the tsunami the family of six slept in their car in case they had to suddenly escape. ''We are still so worried that there might be another earthquake in the night, so we slept fully clothed in case we have to flee.''
The only granddaughter is heavily pregnant. ''As she is in her final month of pregnancy, she should be growing bigger, but she hasn't really grown. I wish she could have bath in clean water, but there is still no water supply'', the mother described, looking very worried. The Japanese military set up simple bathing facilities in the Kirikiri elementary school nearby, but it is very exhausting for the granddaughter to go there.
The mother runs a barber shop next door, but as there is no water, gas or reliable electricity supply, she doesn't know when she will be able to reopen. ''We have no daily income. I am very unsure of our future. But we are the lucky ones. Many neighbors have lost family members, their houses and their possessions. The town mayor also died so we will have to join hands and work together and restore the town.''
It has now been one month since the disaster struck. The disaster victims, despite experiencing great hardship, are determined to encourage and help each other to grow stronger and step by step restore their lives. In order to support the strength of the local people, CARE assessed the situation in the disaster zone so we can provide the people with the aid they really need. We provide food to evacuees in three centers – in a situation like this, with cold temperatures and many older people in poor health condition, it is important to get nutritious food in order to stay healthy.
Posted by: Notes from the Field | By Kristian Bertel | CARE International... at 9:36AM EST on April 13, 2011
Photos: Kristian Bertel
India is a country which is rich in heritage, culture, cuisine, nature and history. It has so much diversity that is hardly seen anywhere else in the world. It is an ideal blend of the modern culture and history.
With one of the world’s fastest-growing economies, India has certainly made giant strides over the past decade. However, despite averaging an annual growth rate of around 9% in recent years, vast sections of the country’s billion-plus population have seen little benefit from the economic boom.
Poverty in India is a big a problem now as it has ever been with well over 200 Million people living below the poverty line. A third of the global poor now reisde in India and the shocking statistics are highlighted by the huge disparity between the rich and poor.
An Indian girl is collecting things in Varanasi, India.
Poverty can be classified into rural and urban types. Rural poverty is caused due to various factors like dependence of rural population over the agriculture which is highly dependent on rain; injustice towards people of lower caste, lack of education, large family size with many mouths to eat and lesser hands to earn and unequal distribution of income.
Main reasons responsible for urban poverty is the scarcity of job opportunities caused due to migration of rural families to cities and lack of proper housing facilities.
About the photographer
Posted by: Jon Thompson at 9:48AM EST on April 8, 2011
By Robert Laprade
These are my last days in Japan. I am back in Tokyo now and will leave the country on Friday. It has been almost four weeks since the tsunami hit the coast of northern Japan; in many areas it was more than 30 meters high. There are still so many humanitarian needs. Even though infrastructure is getting repaired by the government, with roads being cleared, ports functioning again, and the lights coming back on, it is apparent even to those unfamiliar with emergency work that it will take five to ten years to rebuild the area--at least. Survivors living in evacuation centers or with host families face huge challenges. They will not be going back home anytime soon as many of their houses are now nothing more than a foundation. Others’ homes are partially damaged with windows and doors torn off, filled with a meter of a mixture of mud and miscellaneous, smashed rubbish. The initial shock of the disaster has receded – now it is dawning on many people just how bad their situation really is. They realize that they will not be able to live in their homes soon, if ever, again. It’s a huge challenge for the government. In the first weeks, the focus has rightly been on searching for survivors and remains of victims, putting a roof over the affected people as quickly as possible, and getting basic infrastructure back up and running. Now the government needs to determine how to house people for a longer period before permanent housing can be built. In the fishing towns of Yamada and Otsuchi and many others, most buildings are destroyed—only the wood, metal siding, beams, and contents remain, strewn across the hideous landscape kilometers from where they once stood as offices, houses, and schools. Much of the coastline where the tsunami hit is mountainous. The only flat area is the land lining the coves and inlets wiped almost clean in the disaster. There is not much space to build temporary houses for all evacuees.
When I visited the evacuation centers I saw that many survivors had nothing to do. Many just sat there traumatized. Others conversed with friends and relatives. Being in close quarters—sleeping, eating, and talking to the same group of people in very cramped space—can be a stressful experience after some time. Many people are still clearly grieving as it is only now becoming clear that they will probably never see their missing loved ones again. In some of the centers, we have been looking at helping with recreational and cultural activities that can help reduce some of the stress and monotony, especially for elderly people who may have extra challenges of mobility. These need to be things that are culturally and socially familiar to them, and that they identify as giving comfort or providing a bit of fun.
The evacuation centers in Yamada where CARE provides hot meals two times a day are located in a school compound. But the school year starts in the next few weeks. That’s another challenge. We have already been told that we need to remove our kitchen and storehouse as they were located in the classrooms. Evacuation center residents are sleeping in the gym and will not be forced to leave. My Japanese CARE colleagues now have to identify new places to store food and supplies and a place to cook. But that’s the nature of humanitarian operations. It is our duty to act in the best interest of those affected. In this case, we want the kids to go back to school, the people who don’t have a home to have a place to live, and to ensure that we can still serve nutritious food for the residents. We need to be flexible in a dynamic environment, finding ways to bring help to survivors and meet the many different needs they have.
The past weeks in Japan have shown me how fragile life is. Whether we live in developed or developing countries, whether in cities or villages, we can never be too secure. I also think we should respond to the humanitarian needs of survivors, no matter in which region of the world they live, even if they happen to come from a “rich” country. The tsunami in Japan also really underlines the importance of disaster risk reduction and early warning systems. Had those systems not been in place, clearly casualties would have been much higher. It was also great to see how people helped each other out in their time of greatest need. The Japanese people have all pulled together, everyone doing their own part to in some way show their support for the victims and survivors. There were numerous donations and offers to host homeless survivors. Inhabitants of Tokyo try to save energy whenever they can. The hotel where I am staying in Tokyo turns out the lights in the lobby when breakfast is over. All the glitter and glamour that you visualize when you think of Japan is toned down. Excessive celebrations during this important time of traditional cherry blossom festivals are even frowned upon. The CARE team in Tokyo is still working long hours, until 10 p.m. every day. Everyone seems content making sacrifices, knowing that in some small way they are paying their respects to the inhabitants of the ravaged Northeast coast and making a difference in the lives of survivors.
Posted by: Staci Dixon at 12:43PM EST on September 9, 2010
by Deborah Underdown, CARE media specialist in Pakistan
As I left Islamabad for Swat I can't deny that I wasn't a little apprehensive. Most people have only heard about this region because of conflict and Swat's association with militant groups.
Swat has been hit hard by the floods with some people – a month after the rains – having still received nothing. Many roads and bridges have been destroyed making areas, and the people that live there, unreachable.
CARE, through our partner organization IDEA, is targeting the families who have yet to receive help. Families were identified last week and given a token and informed of the time and place they could collect essential goods such as soap, towels, pots and pans and a tent.
Today, I saw these people receive their goods. Arz, 60, said, "I walked for three hours to get here. I am happy to receive these goods. This is the first time we have had anything since the floods."
I am struck by the organization of the distribution – no one is fighting or pushing. People are calmly waiting in line to receive these precious goods and then sit, with what looks like relief, before picking up the goods and starting the long journey home.
CARE is also providing people with 2000 rupees to help them transport their goods home; the methods of transport include donkeys and mules. Arz told me that he is going to use the money for something else, "I am going to use the money that was given for the transport on new clothes for my children." He'll walk the return journey that will take 4-5 hours as he will be carrying a heavy load.
As we literally reach the end of the road, a huge chunk of it was washed away. But I am struck but the sheer determination of the people here. A zip wire has been strung across the vast Indus River and people and their goods are able to get from one side to the other. I look at people going across and at how high up they are, sitting in a small metal cage, and think how brave they are – it then hits me that they have no other choice.
Arz, 60, said, "I walked for three hours to get here. I am happy to receive these goods. This is the first time we have had anything since the floods."
A zip wire strung across the vast Indus River carries people from one side to the other.
Photos: 2010 Deborah Underdown/CARE
Posted by: Staci Dixon at 1:31PM EST on August 30, 2010
by Jonathan Mitchell, CARE International's emergency response director
This blog entry is part of an e-mail that Jonathan sent to co-workers at CARE:
I have just returned from Pakistan, where I saw the flood situation and CARE's response first-hand, and worked with the country office and CARE USA's Asia regional director, Nick Osborne, to support scaling-up CARE's response.
As you will know, the devastation caused by the floods in Pakistan is unprecedented with an estimated 17 million people affected - stretching from the Himalayas in the North to the Arabian Sea in the South of the country. An estimated 1.2 million people have lost their homes and 3.4 million are displaced.
Together with CARE's country director Waleed Rauf, regional director Nick Osborne, other colleagues from CARE Pakistan and one of our local partners, we visited affected areas in Swat and Nowshera districts in Northwest Pakistan – one of the first areas hit by the floods four weeks ago.
In the Swat valley, the swollen river had cut huge swathes out of the river banks, destroying many homes, businesses, roads, bridges and other infrastructure, as well as agricultural land. Displaced people are mainly staying in school buildings or with host families. One of the main problems for aid delivery in areas like this is lack of access due to roads being cut. To get up the Swat valley, we had to leave vehicles behind at several points where there were no roads and hike by foot across steep hillsides to the next intact section of road.
In Swat, CARE has supported our local partner to quickly set up mobile health units providing badly-needed primary health services to the communities. Each unit moves around to different sites and includes both a female and a male doctor. The urgent priority now is to find alternative ways to overcome the access difficulties so that CARE and our partners can deliver other relief supplies such as tents, household kits, and materials for water and sanitation.
The situation in Nowshera district, which we also visited, is quite different. It is located south of Swat where the land opens into the plains. Here, the river flooded entire villages, washing away houses and livestock, and inundating agricultural land. Many displaced people are living in makeshift camps on higher ground close to their flooded or destroyed houses. CARE and our partners have set-up mobile health units here as well. In addition, CARE Pakistan quickly provided, through our partners, all of the tents and household kits that CARE Pakistan had stockpiled to people in Nowshera and another neighboring district. But this only met the immediate shelter needs of a small proportion of those needing help in these districts; CARE is working hard to procure the much larger quantities of supplies still needed. Three hundred additional tents were received from vendors last week, but with so much demand, all humanitarian agencies are experiencing serious delays getting enough supplies from vendors in Pakistan. Where appropriate, we are, therefore, looking at sourcing relief supplies from outside the country.
There are many other critical needs in the displaced people's camps as well. A camp that we visited had no water supply, toilets or other sanitation facilities. The situation for women, who have no access to private sanitation facilities, is particularly bad. CARE and our partners are focusing with urgency on the need to address the awful sanitation and water situation. Construction of toilets is starting, a shipment of water purification supplies has arrived, and two water purification plants are being set-up in Nowshera and the neighboring district.
The sanitation issues also illustrate why focusing on gender must be an important aspect of our response, and one that we need to address with sensitivity in the conservative social environment of many of the communities we are working in. The country office is hiring a full-time gender advisor to support our work in this area.
In addition to these districts in the northwest of Pakistan, CARE is also responding in South Punjab and Sindh Provinces further south.
During the visit, we worked with the country office to revise its emergency response strategy. The revised strategy plans for a scaled-up emergency response to reach 300,000 people in the three operational areas over an 18 month period. The response will be in two phases: the first relief phase will last up to nine months and will include interventions in health, shelter, non-food items and water/sanitation; the second recovery phase will overlap with the relief phase and will continue until around December 2011 and will include interventions in livelihood recovery, transitional shelter, etc.
I would like to sincerely appreciate the hard work of colleagues in CARE and our partners in Pakistan, under the strong leadership of country director, Waleed Rauf, who are doing so much to respond to this humanitarian crisis. The great support of many CARE International members is also most valued, and we look forward to continuing to work together with all involved to ensure that CARE's response to this crisis provides significant assistance to the people of Pakistan affected by these devastating floods.
2010 Waleed Rauf/CARE
Posted by: Staci Dixon at 4:09PM EST on August 26, 2010
by Deborah Underdown, CARE media specialist in Pakistan
The word flood has taken on a new meaning for me. Last month, a flood was a burst water pipe in my flat in London, a few ruined carpets and the inconvenience of sleeping in my lounge. Today, a flood means your entire home being submerged with water. A flood is all your possessions being washed away. A flood is something that forces you to live in a tent wondering where fresh water and food will come from.
Nowshera is about an hour and a half drive from Pakistan's capital, Islamabad. When I arrived I was shocked to see the floods waters hadn't receded. On my left were the submerged houses and on the right, overlooking what used to be their homes, were families living in tents.
I met Khayal Marjan. She smiled at me from inside her tent, provide by CARE, and spoke to me about the floods.
"Our sewing machine was damaged in the flood – it was our only source of income," she said. "I also had 40 chickens and some goats and cows; they all drowned. We only had time to save ourselves."
Approximately 400 families are living in tents provided by CARE – a shelter from the monsoon rains that continue to fall. The needs of the families in these camps are numerous, ranging from shelter to medical care and food to clean water. CARE continues to help. There is a mobile health clinic treating skin diseases and the growing number of diarrhea cases.
The scale of this disaster is overwhelming and unimaginable. Nowshera is just one area of Pakistan affected by these floods. There are many other cities, towns and villages in the same situation - all needing more support.
Flood waters are still present on Nowshera, where some people told us that their homes are still submerged in 4 feet of water.
Children in Nowshera wade through flood water to salvage what they can from their homes.
A camp set up by CARE and local partner IDEA in the village of Nowshera.
Photos: 2010 Deborah Underdown/CARE
Posted by: Staci Dixon at 3:55PM EST on August 26, 2010
By Faiz Paracha
It was my first day working with CARE, and I visited one of the worst affected areas of Khyber-Pakhtoon-Khaw, Nowshera and Charsada. Both districts have been devastated severely by the flood. Traveling along the Motorway M-1, you cannot realize the wreckage that the torrential flood water has caused.
When we left the M-1 through the Nowshera interchange, I was shocked to see the destruction caused by the flood. The river Kabul flows side-by-side to the road to Nowshera, and there are a lot of villages constructed sporadically alongside the banks of the river. This has affected people living in those villages tremendously.
We stopped at a village called Zareenabad.
The local people told us that the flood water came in a two-meter-high wave. All of it was so sudden that they had no time to gather their valuables – but could only run for their lives. Many of them got swept away by the water and others are still missing, heir families believing them to be dead.
The water has taken away their belongings and their houses. Many houses collapsed when the flood wave came and the rest broke down due to standing water. Their entire household lost in water. People remained under the open sky with nothing – until CARE reached them. CARE was the first organization to provide them with shelter.
CARE has established a camp with our local partner IDEA for the affected people of this village. This camp is accommodating some 400 families. The camp has been provided with tents, non-food items, kitchen utensils and hygiene kits. Drinking water tanks are provided twice a day.
People here need more help. The damage that we see now is only the beginning. The basic source of livelihood in this region was agriculture, daily wage labor or cattle farming. All have been engulfed by water. New homes will be needed to be built for them. Funds will be needed to help rebuild their livelihoods so that they can make it on their own. People, especially children, will require psychosocial support.
It is vital that the pledges by international donors materialize. Concrete and fulfilling promises regarding aid are needed so that the people of Pakistan are saved from their worst humanitarian crisis.
CARE and partner organization IDEA has provided tents to around 400 families in Nowshera.
Posted by: Staci Dixon at 12:29PM EST on August 19, 2010
CARE Media Specialist in Pakistan Thomas Schwarz interviews CARE Pakistan's Country Director Waleed Rauf
August 17, 2010
Q. After more than two weeks, how would you describe the situation in Pakistan as of today?
A. It still raining and we are in the midst of the second phase of the monsoon – and there are always three phases. The overall situation is worsening, and the United Nations meanwhile spoke about up to 3.5 million children in danger of waterborne disease.
Q. That sounds as if the aid agencies are not able to help?
A. CARE and other aid agencies are working up to their limits. Even now during the fasting Ramadan period, they are working around the clock. Together, with our partners in the northwest of the country as well as in the south, we are contributing to the people.
Q. What is it exactly, what CARE is doing? What kind of support are you providing?
A. There are different regions of Pakistan we work in. CARE is supporting mobile health units through our partners in Khyber Pakshtoon Kwa (KPK) and Sindh Provinces. We are providing access to basic medicines and first aid care. We emptied all of our warehouses immediately after the floods started. They were the stocks CARE maintains for emergencies such as this one. These included stocks of basic items such as tents, clothing, kitchen sets and hygiene kits, which as of today, have all been distributed in the worst-affected areas of Nowshera and Charsadda. More will be distributed in Punjab and Sindh as soon as possible.
Q. Many people have fears that the aid do not reach the victims but instead go to hidden channels. What is your opinion on that?
A. Well, the challenges here are enormous but aid is getting through to those who need it. I can assure each and every donor who is ready to support CARE. Our long experience in the field and the passion of our partners on the ground guarantee this, and we have rigorous systems in place to ensure that aid goes directly to the people in need. Undoubtedly, there is much more to do and international organizations, including CARE, are committed to doing so. Even through the fasting month of Ramadan, our colleagues continue to work around the clock to ensure aid reaches those in need.
Q. So, what is needed most? What is the priority number one?
A. There are three priorities – all at the same time because they are interdependent. As we see the rising numbers of hungry flood survivors, food is an urgent need. Hygiene is a priority, too. Stagnant water in 100-plus degree heat and humidity provides the perfect breeding ground for waterborne diseases so health is a major issue. Children and women especially are threatened here. The United Nations announced this week that as many as 3.5 million children are at risk of disease. The third priority is shelter. Many of the tents sent to Haiti after the earthquake came from Pakistan suppliers, and stocks here in Pakistan are not yet back up to the needed levels.
Q. What is your overall expectation about the next two to three weeks?
A. If we – and I am not only talking about CARE – receive sufficient funding and donations, Pakistan could respond much more quickly. We could do much more, broaden our response, reach more people more quickly. If not, I would not want to guess what could happen to the millions of survivors who haven't yet received any assistance and are struggling alone.
Posted by: Web Editor at 1:30PM EST on August 18, 2010
By Anu John, Program Development Coordinator, Disaster Risk Reduction and Conflict
I have just completed 10 years with CARE. On World Humanitarian Day 2010, I wanted to share the joy and the significance of this journey in my life.
Yes, it's been 10 years with CARE for me – I still remember the day the human resources director of CARE India told me after the interview that I was selected for the job. That day changed my life. Coming from a working class family with a rural background in India, the biggest gift my parents could give me was a good education. But it was up to me to make something of it. All I knew is that I wanted to be in the "helping" profession. CARE opened up the doors for me. I got one opportunity after another at CARE to do what I liked to do best, with all my passion.
I always believed in nonviolent means of achieving results. I feared physical pain of any form; it was too close to home for comfort, I guess. Then, how could I be okay with conflict, especially violent conflict? I could never see sense in having armies and troops and missiles and guns. I wanted peace, and wanted to work with people who had lived their lives in a conflict context. CARE gave me the opportunity to work with conflict-affected people and to work on conflict-sensitive programming. Today, I am in a war-torn country working with the people of Afghanistan. And it's been achieved with CARE as my employer.
I am sure there are other organizations that do the same, but for me, it was CARE that did it. I have to add that, as a girl from rural India, some of the material comforts were a first for me. I traveled in an air conditioned railway compartment for the first time in March 2000, on the ticket that CARE gave me to attend the interview in New Delhi. I flew for the first time in August 2000. A few years later, I traveled abroad for the first time with the opportunity that CARE gave me to go on a visit to Bangladesh.
They may sound materialistic, but for an average young Indian girl, a decade back, these were unimaginable rewards. No doubt, they came with a lot of hard work (as it is for anyone else), and even heartache …difficult bosses, eccentric colleagues, unplanned work, short deadlines and what not. But now it doesn't seem to matter.
For me, CARE was not just an employer; CARE became my hope. I only say this because I truly believe CARE not only strives to make a difference in the lives of people it works for, but also makes a difference of the people who work in the organization. For me, Gender Equity and Diversity (a CARE program to ensure equity among men and women, and provide opportunities for overseas staff) is not jargon, but a reality, as it is for many others working with CARE, especially in this part of the world.
And I thank CARE – and all my colleagues – for making our lives beautiful. I am sure that very many staff out there in the country offices, on the front line, working with the communities will have the same to say. I wanted to take this opportunity to remind ourselves of this change; we are making in the lives of our staff members.
Salaam to a great decade with CARE. Shukriya (thank you), CARE!
Posted by: Staci Dixon at 4:42PM EST on August 17, 2010
Thomas Schwarz, CARE media specialist in Pakistan
The Taliban helps flood victims and then publicly praises its own work. This is what I read in the news. In interviews, journalists ask if it is true, and I say yes. Of course they publicize their good works. Everybody who does good deeds for others publicizes it. But, is this the question we should be asking right now? Not for me.
This debate about the Taliban has nothing to with the reality we face here everyday across the country. The debate is a Western obsession, not one of the flood-affected people in need.
Frankly, I barely understand the connection between the topic and the biggest natural disaster of our time. We should be focusing our attention on how we can provide immediate relief efficiently and effectively to those in need.
I witnessed in Moltan just how CARE is supporting mobile health clinics so that primary health care is accessible to those who need it.
The temperature here is a humid 104 degrees, and flies are everywhere. A man shoos them away. Flood survivors queue patiently for their turn to registrater and receive medical assistance. The process is quick and efficient, and the people here are directly benefiting from this intervention because of generous donations to CARE.
Moltan lies to the south of Punjab Province, where new floods are predicted as monsoon rains continue.
CARE's warehouses here are all now empty and, as more donations come in, we are procuring more supplies to distribute to those in need. Since the floods began we have distributed tents, hygiene kits, mosquito nets and kitchen sets. It is not true that humanitarian assistance is not reaching those in need. It is – but simply not enough!
Along the main, four-lane road out of Moltan, we see tents, one after another like a string of pearls. Tents? That's an exaggeration. They are really just plastic sheets held up by wooden poles. The fronts and backs remain open, offering no privacy for those who seek shelter. But they at least provide some protection from the fierce sun.
A 70-year-old man sits alone, staring into space. Around him children sit likewise.
When we arrive, we are surrounded by people immediately. Everybody wants to say something. They all say the same thing, "We have no tents. Look!" They point to a village, less than 200 meters away. It is completely flooded – all we see are roofs. We know that these people will not be able to return to their village as long as the rains continue and the stagnant water refuses to recede.
We are relieved to hear that the villagers are receiving food. When we ask from whom, and they reply, "People from Moltan are coming every day to deliver food.” The people from Molten are strangers, but the villagers know they can rely on them.
Today, as the holy fasting month of Ramadan has now started, the strangers arrive in the evening after sunset. Tomorrow, Pakistan celebrates its independence from the British empire. People help people in Pakistan. This is the true Pakistan I know and appreciate.
By the way, Zahid, the sick little boy I met in Charsadda, is back home and playing again! My colleague, Mujahid, just sent me an e-mail to let me know.
Another question often asked by journalists comes to mind: “Does the help reach people?” Yes, it does.
Posted by: Staci Dixon at 4:10PM EST on August 17, 2010
Thomas Schwarz, CARE Media Specialist in Pakistan
When we started out early this morning from Islamabad, I didn't exactly know what would be awaiting me in the region of Mardan. I had seen many reports on TV, read the papers, listened to the radio and spoken with my CARE colleagues. The whole weekend, I spent meeting with United Nations representatives as well as other international humanitarian organizations.
We drove the motorway No. 1, direction northwest. This highway is cut into three pieces, almost through half of the whole country, from Lahore in the South to Karachi in the northwest. On both sides there are fields and women and men alike are working them. Everything seems to be okay at first – at least it looks like it's okay. No flooding, no water, not even rain.
Then, after about 50 kilometers, we saw the Indus River. Aggressive, powerful, and threatening. It has doubled in size. We cross it, over a long bridge, and all of a sudden it disappeared, as if it were trying to hide from us, in the fog. But there it is, the monster that has claimed lives and stolen everything from millions of flood victims. And, as always, it was taken from the poorest and most vulnerable.
The water has stolen everything
After the bridge and the fog, maybe 60 to 70 kilometers later, we see tents, again and again. They stood in fields, along the highway. People put them anywhere they found a space without water. There they live now, those who have lost their homes and almost lost their lives. After another 30 kilometers, we arrive in a town where 26,000 people live in normal times.
There, we meet Nambarj. She's 65 years old and a widow. "See here, this house. It disappeared," she says. "It is simply not there anymore."
When the flood came, the water jumped more than two meters above the wall of the courtyard. What is left? "Look there," she says. She shows the old kitchen, where she used to have all her kitchen utensils. "There, this is everything I have now. Two small machines. Everything else, the water has stolen from me."
CARE has provided her with a tent. We promise to bring the woman kitchen utensils within a few days. When one has lost everything, even small things can make a really big difference.
Terrible pictures, unbelievable poverty
In this area, CARE is cooperating with local partners. Imran Inan of the Community Research and Development Organisation, or CRDO, is a person who deserves my deepest respect. The way he accompanies me and translates impresses me. He has a word for each and every remark of the survivors. His patience and humble work is really something I admire. CRDO is just one of several partner organizations of CARE in Pakistan.
I have an idea about poverty. I have seen it in many different countries; it is a reality. What I have seen now, though, leaves me stunned. Not only the situation of the widow, but also the one of the old man, who tells us simply: "I don't even have shoes anymore." He lives with his children and grandchildren in a tent next to his son's house, which is still standing. Imran is listening carefully. "He will get them tomorrow," he says. "We just received shoes. He will get them tomorrow. Promised."
The people in the northwestern part of Pakistan are poor, even poorer than many in other parts of Pakistan.
Is there a boy like Zahid in rich countries, too?
But it is the small boy laying on the wet, muddy floor of his family's small, simple house that shocks me. Zahid is only four years old. His coughing and a high fever has exhausted him so much that he is sleeping, his chest is slowly going up and down. It is 3:30 in the afternoon. The mother cries, when she sees not only me, but also the others coming to her house. It is empty aside from Zahid laying on the floor.
The mother does not have enough money for the transportation to the hospital or for the medication he urgently needs. Someone gives her some money for the transport. "Do you know, Thomas," my CARE colleague, Mujahid, says, "there are many cases like this one in this region. We will find a solution."
I find it profoundly shaming, how we – the rich countries – are coping with one of the biggest natural disasters in decades. At the same time I try not to become unjust. Also in our countries are poor people, of course. There is poverty, yes. But I wonder, if there is a boy like Zahid in the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, France or Germany. I am not sure.
Posted by: Staci Dixon at 3:49PM EST on August 17, 2010
Thomas Schwarz, CARE media specialist in Pakistan
This week is a very special one in the flooded nation that is Pakistan. August 14 is the national Day of Independence. On August 14, 1947, the British colonial rulers granted independence to their former colony. At the same time as India, by the way. On top of the national Day of Independence, Pakistan's majority Muslim population will also begin the holy month of Ramadan this week, which includes praying and fasting.
Mmedia reports are full of pictures showing people who are fasting, yet have nothing to eat. Thousands of hectares of agricultural land are completely flooded. If nothing is done, this will mean widespread hunger. Even Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani spoke on Sunday about a "second monsoon" that is likely to hit the south, the breadbasket of the country, soon. This country knows the meaning of hunger – and a large number of people are frightened of it.
Too many of the 180 million inhabitants of Pakistan have virtually lost everything. The country is already one of the poorest in the world. And what is more, Pakistan mainly gets attention when there is talk of terrorism. Positive news from this region is rare, although we do encounter good news here every day.
We meet neighbors helping neighbors, and people whose houses are not destroyed helping those who lost their homes. We see college students walking through the city of Islamabad raising funds for the victims.
"We know that it will not be more than a small sum," says one of them, pointing at the cardboard box with the money he collected. "But we do this on our own initiative instead of waiting for help to come from outside."
Every day shows clearly that this help is urgently needed. But relief work is difficult.
CARE's partner organizations have delivered medication and medical supplies to pregnant women, who could not make it to the hospital for childbirth. The women were reached with the aid of donkeys and mules because so bridges and streets remain impassable.
Plates, forks, cutlery – nothing left
There are some distributions of kitchen supplies, bandages and other relief items. Nothing is left of the house that has been swept away by the floods. But at least the people have some relief now. And tents, the affected families also need tents. It does not stop raining.
CARE focuses its work on women and children. About a dozen CARE trucks are transporting doctors and other aid workers to the affected areas. They treat those that are most in need, and they try to get an overview of the needs in order to plan their work.
Today, Zahid from CARE Pakistan and I will drive up to Mardan in the northwestern part of the country. During the next couple of days, he will plan and coordinate CARE's relief operation for the area. I will get a firsthand look in order to report back to my colleagues and the world. I need to see things with my own eyes. Images on TV and the reports we hear reports cannot accurately reflect the immense suffering.
I know I am repeating myself, but I have to say it repeatedly: what is missing still, and foremost, is money. It is that simple. If humanitarian organizations like CARE do not get enough funding, there will be too little help. I cannot bear the thought that the fate of 12 million people is being ignored by the world simply because they are living in Pakistan.
Posted by: Staci Dixon at 3:02PM EST on August 17, 2010
by Thomas Schwarz, CARE media specialist in Pakistan
August 7, 2010
On a cable TV network I can watch the recorded World Cup match between Germany and Uruguay. Football. It's a draw right now. I switch to DAWN-TV, a Pakistani TV channel: Two anchormen talking about food support activities in their mother tongue, Urdu.
I have just arrived in Islamabad, much later than expected. The airplane was not able to land in the capital of Pakistan due to bad weather conditions on the ground. We had to fly to Karachi, wait there for a couple of hours, then head back to Islamabad. Karachi is the biggest city in Pakistan and close to the estuary of the Indus River. Now the river is twice as broad as usual. With a population of almost 13 million people, Karachi is one of the biggest cities worldwide. It ranks third place in the list of the world’s biggest cities. I have only seen the airport building, of course. No clue where to find the famous stock exchange, which is also based in this big city. Finally, after five hours we can fly to Islamabad, where the CARE country office has its headquarters.Can anyone grasp the numbers?
The DAWN also has an English print version. The newspaper and its website deliver around-the-clock news about the situation in the flooded areas of the country. Reading the paper, I am reminded of last year in May when a huge number of people fled from violence in the Swat valley. At that time, just like today, the numbers of internally displaced people were rising by the hour. More than 12 million people are affected by this horrible flood. Can anyone really grasp this number?On my way from the international airport of Islamabad to the guest house, I receive numerous phone calls. I talk, or more precisely listen, to my CARE colleagues updating me with the latest information. Rising numbers. And a terrible lack of funding.
A colleague tells me that the website of the National Disaster Management Authority would be a good source. She was right. The authority is directly linked to the prime minister's office. On the website the government informs about the actions undertaken to help the flood victims. As a first step, bridges are provisionally repaired. It's a nightmare for all aid workers: the infrastructure is so heavily damaged that there are still people out there who have not been reached yet.
Far too little has been done so far, but ...
Meanwhile, CARE has supported thousands of people with tents, clothes, mosquito nets and other important emergency items. Eleven trucks were sent out to the affected areas. They are also transporting tablets to clean dirty water. Today, a radio reporter asked me, “Is that enough or is it just a drop in the ocean?“ No, of course it is not enough. Far too little has been done for the victims so far. But even this little bit means survival for many of them.
However, there is an immense lack of funding; many, many millions of dollars are needed to increase the speed and scale of the response. The rich states are still hesitant. That is a common assumption here in Pakistan, not just a gut feeling. Whoever sees and hears how desperate people in this area are simply cannot understand how slowly money is coming in.
Posted by: Jon Thompson at 10:21AM EST on August 10, 2010
By Mujahid Hussain, emergency program manager for CARE in Pakistan
August 6, 2010
Nowshera has been declared one of the calamity areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Entire villages and farms have been swept away. Homes have disappeared under flood waters and livestock have been left to rot in the mud.
CARE’s team has responded to the needs of the affected population through our local partners with basic non-food items to the locals, who were able to come to the accessible highland areas and roads. Through our partners and relief team's rapid assessment, surveys have been conducted to ascertain facts and figures about the damages and losses of the people in the area.
As the floods have caused extensive damage to crops, livestock and other food sources in the affected regions, food supply issues remain paramount. People are in desperate need of food and shelter and, as the days pass by, health issues are getting worse.
Here’s what we heard from some of the people:
Posted by: Jon Thompson at 10:19AM EST on August 10, 2010
By Umaz Jalal, security manager for CARE in Pakistan.
August 5, 2010
On the eve of August 4, I was tasked to deliver a convoy carrying relief goods to flood-affected areas of Pakistan. We started our journey for the distribution point at a little past 7:00 p.m.
As usual, we communicated the departure to the security unit and the field staff. The convoy traveled through the Grand Trunk Road as the motorway was badly damaged in the recent floods. When we reached Nowshera (in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Province of Pakistan), we were told by the police that the Grand Trunk Road was also blocked by the floods and we had to take a detour to get to our final destination -- the city of Mardan.
Our convoy was going slowly when I could saw the reflection of water on both sides of the road. I asked if we were still crossing the Kabal River. To my shock, the driver told me, "It’s not the river; it’s the flood water that we are passing."
I remembered that there were lots of small towns on both sides of Grand Trunk Road, which use to be full of life even at night time.
While crossing a small village, which was badly affected by the rain and floods close to 3:00 a.m., no life was present as far as eye could see. Then, I saw a woman who was undergoing labor pains and in need of urgent medical help, being carried by a girl and old man towards the nearest hospital.
I asked the driver to stop the vehicle so I could ask the old man if he needed any help. He told me that they have been walking for two hours trying to take his daughter to the hospital in Mardan as the all medical facilities in Nowshera were damaged by the floods. We told them that we were headed to Marden, which was 17 Kilometers away, and would drop them at the hospital.
The condition of the woman looked serious, but she safely reached hospital and was provided medical care.
After that, our convoy reached Mardan and all of the relief goods we were carrying were distributed.
Posted by: Jon Thompson at 10:17AM EST on August 10, 2010
By Jamshed Naseer, security officer for CARE in Pakistan, who witnessed the devastation in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.
There are plans that we make, and there is God’s plan. The truth of this phrase has never hit me as hard as it did on July 28, 2010.
The day before started off like any other summer day. The sun was shining bright, and our enthusiastic team of five set off to visit Swat.
Swat was a hot spot for all tourists once upon a time, not long ago. I remember Swat, and the people of this beautiful valley, who offered a smile and warm welcome to anyone who came there. I knew how the smiles had been replaced by lines of worry due to the recent political situation these brave people had faced. People are still warm and welcoming, but the air of this place once known to be "heaven on earth" tells a tale of its own.
My team and I were following our trip schedule, meeting local authorities, going to a CARE project site , and discussing areas we needed to focus on for the trip. We all went to bed satisfied, our heads filled with plans for the next day. I remember falling asleep with the sound of the rain drop's pitter-patter echoing in my ears like a lullaby.
July 28, 2010. A date engraved in my memory for the years to come. It was 8:15 a.m. when Waleed, Mujahid and I were sitting in the lobby of the hotel, enjoying hot breakfast and admiring the rain, and how it made the valley look fresh and clean.
Despite the rain, we started our day's journey as planned, visiting a health project. Sitting comfortably in the front seat of our car with the air conditioner blasting, I could see people running around covering their heads with newspapers, shopping bags or their hands.
Some of the women were carrying their children and men were carrying household items -- I wondered, why are they out in the rain? The question came and left my mind fleetingly. Concentrate, my mind said, as I tried to focus on my duties for the day.
The rain was pouring, visibility was poor and our cars were crawling along the road, when we heard that the Gwaliari Bridge had collapsed. We went as near as we could to the bridge and assess the damage caused.
I stood there watching what the rain we were all praying for had done.
The sound of the water gushing, wood cracking, and amongst the havoc, people leaving everything that they had worked so hard for -- running, saving their very lives. The people on the road came back to my mind. I saw, how the fathers were trying to keep their young ones safe, hauling them on the shoulders, how mothers, not caring for their own security, were protecting their children. I saw a landslide wipe away homes and bury them in mud.
The water, not caring who and what it took with its force, pushed on.
The road was cracking and giving way to the force of the water. I moved my team to safety. Everyone was busy getting information, planning what to next.
With every second that passed by, I felt worse. Here we were, safe and warm, with a roof over our head, food in our stomachs, a soft bed to sleep on. The sound of the rain that was lullaby to my ears yesterday seemed to turn into cry for help. I felt responsible for the rain that we had all been praying for.
I tossed and turned in my bed at night and I asked myself over and over again, “Is this what we prayed for?”
Posted by: CARE at 2:26PM EST on October 6, 2009
by Adjie Fachrurrazi, CARE emergency coordinator in Indonesia
It has been raining non-stop for the past six hours. Heavy, heavy rain.
People are traumatized. They are asking for help. Everyone is suffering. People say to me, "Don't count the number of destroyed houses. Count the number of houses still standing. It will be faster." In most villages I have seen, only 15 percent of houses are still standing. Some houses are totally flattened. The roof is flat on the ground. People lost everything. Their houses are destroyed, everything in them is destroyed. And everyone is afraid so those with houses will not go inside. There have been aftershocks over the past few days but today was mostly quiet. Everyone is afraid of another earthquake.
So people are sleeping outside, living outside. We are all wet. They have no shelter. Some people are sleeping under broken pieces of roof. Shelter is the main issue. People also need mosquito nets. They are sleeping outside, and with all this rain, there will be mosquitoes and malaria. Children are already starting to get sick. They need blankets, mosquito nets and plastic sheeting for shelter.
People are drinking coconut juice, or river water. People in these village used to get their water from springs, but the pipes are broken. In Padang city, the municipal water is not running yet. The water from the river is not clean, and people don't have stoves to boil water. They need clean drinking water or there is going to be a rise in waterborne illness. We have supplies to help 5,000 people to start, but we need funds to help more.
There are many injured people and people still buried under buildings. It is very hard to reach the affected areas. Landslides have blocked roads and there is debris everywhere. Our team went out by motorbike today. We have 20 people on the emergency team, including staff from our local partner. This damage looks worse than the Yogyakarta quake in 2006.
It has been five days now. It's not clear how many people are affected yet. We don't have all the information from the rural areas. There are many dead bodies. And the smell is coming.
Posted by: CARE at 3:30PM EST on October 2, 2009
by Celso Dulce
Celso Dulce is CARE's Project Representative in the Philippines, and he is leading CARE's emergency response to Typhoon Ketsana in Manila. Celso is from Manila.
It started to rain a few hours ago, and it's dark. Today we were supporting the government order to evacuate people from high-risk areas as a precautionary measure. I just returned from securing the warehouses for relief distribution, because the goods might be damaged. Another storm is coming. We don't know how bad, but the rain is getting harder.
Some areas are still flooded. In some areas, we don't know why, the water started to rise again yesterday. Some areas are still hard to reach. With the oncoming typhoon, definitely we will see the floodwaters rising again. So people who returned to their homes, but they will have to go back to the evacuation centers or whatever safe place they have identified. This is very difficult, because people were just starting to clean their houses and now they have to leave again. Almost 300 people are dead. This is my city. I have never seen it like this.
They call the new storm a 'super-typhoon', and people are becoming panicked. Just this afternoon, we received an SMS saying that the super-typhoon will hit by 9 p.m. tonight. Then we received another SMS saying it will hit Manila by 5 p.m. It creates a lot of fear and panic.
We need to teach people what to do to prepare for the coming super-typhoon. They need to move to a safer ground. They shouldn't wait for the strong winds and floods, that will be too late. They have to follow government warnings. Survival steps, prepare water, prepare food that will cover for one or two days. The electricity company has already said there will be cut off in electricity. There is a high level of awareness, and the government units are doing their best to prepare. I hope there are no deaths this time.
The biggest need right now is for food, safe water and emergency shelter, especially since it's raining again. People had been sent back home, because the schools were being used as shelters. Children have to go back to school. Classes had been cancelled for a week already. But now we will need emergency shelter again, mainly tarpaulins. Families have yet to rebuild their homes.
Two days ago I visited one area. One family had a shelter barely larger than two metres by two metres made of salvaged material. As many as 10-14 people lived in this. They have to take turns sleeping, some during the night, some during the day. And then they were hit by the typhoon. For me, it was so depressing, because even before the disaster they were living in such a horrible condition, and the floods made it worse.
The urban poor eat only twice a day, and have very poor quality food, maybe just plain rice and soy sauce. At times, they scavenge food from the garbage, but they can't now, because everything is contaminated by the flood.
CARE is distributing drinking water and food that will last them for a week. We are also distributing emergency supplies like blankets, jerry cans to store water and plastic tarpaulins.
One man said, we need assistance, my wife is sick. She was doing the cleaning after the floods, because a lot of mud and debris were in the households. It is the responsibility of the women to take care of the children and clean the house. They have to get food and take care of the children, and the children are getting sick. The requests for medical assistance is increasing.
It has been a long week. I think of those families tonight. I watch the news and the path of the new typhoon. The rain is getting harder.
Posted by: CARE at 3:21PM EST on October 2, 2009
Oct. 1, 2009
Posted by: CARE at 5:09PM EST on July 9, 2009
by Rick Perera, Media & Communications Officer
Farewell, Pakistan. My month among these kind, hospitable people is coming to an end. As I leave this country that is struggling with a massive wave of civilians fleeing conflict, my mind is full of thoughts, and my heart full of emotions. I've seen the sacrifice of ordinary Pakistanis doing their best to help their suffering compatriots. Their generosity is an inspiration, but also a challenge, to the rest of the world.
Posted by: CARE at 12:34PM EST on June 29, 2009
by Rick Perera, Media & Communications Officer
Just 12 years old, he carries the weight of the world on his narrow shoulders. The eldest of five children of a widowed mother, Sajjad Ahmad feels responsible for his family. It’s not easy being the man of the house at such a young age.
Posted by: CARE at 12:06PM EST on June 11, 2009
Blog by Rick Perera, Media Officer, CARE International in Pakistan:
ISLAMABAD – It’s become depressingly familiar: a tragic attack on civilians. Tuesday’s hotel bombing in Peshawar is just the latest in a string of events marring this beautiful country.... (more)
Posted by: CARE at 11:36AM EST on June 11, 2009
Blog by Rick Perera, Media Officer, CARE International in Pakistan:
Posted by: CARE at 10:48AM EST on June 5, 2009
Blog by Thomas Schwarz of CARE Germany-Luxemburg, May 28, 2009:
It is about noon up here in the northwestern province, or maybe a little later. In one of the camps for displaced people we meet a teacher, who is now volunteering to help his fellow countrymen. He tells us his story: "When all of the refugees arrived, I did not hesitate. I contacted the government to register as a volunteer. 'What can I do,' I asked them. 'How can I help?'"... (more)
Posted by: CARE at 1:26PM EST on June 4, 2009
Blog by Thomas Schwarz of CARE Germany-Luxemburg
While travelling to places like Pakistan, I naturally meet many different people. All of them have their own story and background, their traditions, cultures and personal experiences. Talking to the displaced people in Pakistan, I realized right away how different their path of life is compared to my own. Living in Buner, Kohistan, Dir and the village of Swat bears no resemblance at all to lifestyles in so many western countries. The gap could not be much bigger.... (more)
Posted by: CARE at 1:26PM EST on June 4, 2009
Blog by Thomas Schwarz of CARE Germany-Luxemburg
Today I visited a place close to Mardan, where tens of thousands took refuge from the ongoing fighting in Dir, Buner and the village of Swat. Their overall situation is horrible.... (more)
Posted by: CARE at 1:24PM EST on June 4, 2009
Blog by Thomas Schwarz of CARE Germany-Luxemburg
Posted by: CARE at 7:19AM EST on May 29, 2009
Blog by Thomas Schwarz of CARE Germany-Luxemburg, May 22, 2009
It’s been two and a half years since I last visited Pakistan. At that time, I was in the valley of Allai, in the north western part of the country. In October 2005, a massive earthquake struck the province. I visited the region twice: right after the disaster and a year later. CARE was able to help, in great part due to donations. Together, with the affected population, we built new schools – ones that many girls attend for the first time. This continues to be a big step, because girls’ education is not a given in this part of the world. In cooperation with Pakistani engineers, CARE offered trainings for housing construction so that buildings would be more stable and, hopefully, not collapse when another earthquake hits the region. With CARE’s support, Pakistani experts also built ditches in order to support agricultural activities. ... (more)