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More than half a year after Pakistan was struck by epic floods that claimed more than 2,000 lives and left 20 million homeless, AmeriCares relief work goes on, village by village, Thousands of people in remote villages are still in desperate need after their farmland, homes and livelihoods were destroyed.AmeriCares relief worker, Riaz Khalil, recently visited the villages of Pir Sabaq, Tauda Cheena, Samanabad, and Akora Khattak to deliver supplies and check on the health needs of the hundreds of families still living in make-shift camps. The visits also often involve planning with elders, local authorities and village inhabitants to assess and plan rebuilding of health care services.Every village has its own story – stories of survival and hope.
Near the banks of the Nowshera River and badly damaged by flooding that also knocked out its access road, Pir Sabaq is a large village with many of its 3,000 families still living in tents. Riaz met with village elders and local authorities to coordinate an AmeriCares delivery of non-food relief supplies including hygiene items, quilts and portable cooking stoves. More than 40 volunteers assisted with the distribution of supplies to more than 800 families.
Along with providing deliveries of relief supplies in Tauda Cheena – another village severely damaged when the Swat River overflowed its banks – AmeriCares is working to rehabilitate the flood-damaged health facility which serves seven other area villages. Together with the building contractors, Riaz visited the clinic site where materials were being delivered so construction could begin. As part of AmeriCares commitment to help communities rebuild sustainable health care following a disaster, the three to four-month project includes supplying basic equipment and other improvements to the facility.
In the village of Samanabad and two other nearby smaller communities on the Swat River bank, many houses are still in damaged condition. Homes nearest the river were completely destroyed and families lost everything. Riaz visited the area, which has a population of about 20,000 people, and spoke with a social worker who explained that while many delegations from other aid organizations and the government had visited after the disaster, the people in this village had not received any assistance. Based on his needs assessment, 250 to 270 families are in desperate need of relief supplies, and Riaz is working with village elders to bring AmeriCares aid as quickly as possible to them.
And on through the flood-ravaged land, Riaz and AmeriCares continue the long-term relief process – keeping promises, rebuilding lives.