Shelter from the Storm

Thursday 3 November 2016

Class in progress Children study under a tent donated by Save the Children at the Government Primary School Allah Dad Zardari, Sanghar. Mornings and afternoon can be searingly hot during the summer season.

Sindhis are resilient people. Most of the rural population of Sindh lives in poverty. According to a recent report released by UNDP, more than 75% of Sindh’s rural dwellers live in poverty. Not having the resources to build brick and mortar houses, most families make do with houses made out of mud and straw, which serve them well till the monsoon torrents arrive.

The monsoon rains last from July to September but their devastation lingers on. More than seventy-five percent of Sindh’s population lives in rural areas, with farming and raising livestock being the biggest sources of their livelihood. The rains present the most immediate danger to riverine communities. Successive floods have had a devastating effect on these sources of income and have economically crippled village dwellers.

The floods also damage – partially or completely – homes of the villagers. Since most houses are mud and straw affairs, they do not pose much of a challenge to the indifferent flood water. Families have to come to terms with the loss of their personal dwelling space, and deal with the reality of starting over. Perhaps children suffer the most in these situations: the trauma of experiencing the destruction of their homes coupled with being uprooted and relocated to the alien environment of IDP camps is immense.

Photo: Makeshift classroom Government Primary School, Allah Baksh Laghari, Sanghar.

During this turbulent time, children’s education is also disrupted – sometimes indefinitely. According to a report  prepared by iMMAP and USAID, during the 2011 floods, over 1,900 schools were affected, out of which about 760 were severely affected;  many of which have yet to reopen because of the extensive damage.

In a bid to make this transition easier for children and their families in times of emergency, and to provide some sense of normalcy, Save the Children, in the run-up to the monsoon season, donated emergency response stock of non-food items, worth approximately PKR 23.6 million, to the district administration in Sanghar.

This stock comprised of household kits, shelter kits, education kits and school tents. These items were part of Save the Children’s emergency stock procured with the funding support of international donors, or received as donations.  

In a meeting in August 2016, the District Commissioner (DC), Sanghar, mentioned that tents provided by the Save the Children have been distributed to different schools, which were affected by floods in 2011, and have a high likelihood of being damaged by flood water. He also mentioned that the remaining items will be distributed to other schools and hospitals, where such items are critical in times of emergency.

The DG, Provincial Disaster Management Authority, Sindh, was also informed about the donation of the emergency stock in a meeting to discuss the BMZ funded project in Sanghar District. He was also appreciative of the vital emergency stock donated to the District government by Save the Children.