PAKISTAN Case Study of a Widow Surviving the Flood

PAKISTAN (July 8, 2007) – Naz Bibi, a 45-year old widow, was living with her two young children in the village of Jhangeer Khan Khosoo in Shadadkot, one of the districts that has been most affected by recent flooding in Pakistan’s Sindh Province. Naz’s husband died ten years ago. Since then she has been working as a maid for the local landlord to support her family. She and her children were  living in a tiny mud cottage provided by the landlord. Naz was sound asleep, with her two young children next to her, when the flooding started. Suddenly, she heard screaming coming from the cottage next door. She managed to get out of bed and was trying to leave the house when the water surged through the doors and windows. She rushed back to her bed and grabbed her two children, screaming. “I didn’t know what was happening to me,” she recalls. “I was crying for help.” Her neighbours heard her and managed to get into the house and help her and her two sons escape.

Naz moved with her children to a raised road embankment. She had no shelter, and it took two weeks for the first relief supplies to reach her location. Even then, she couldn’t get much. The distribution point was overwhelmed by people who were desperate, and they pushed her away. “It is only after CARE came to Shahdadkot,” Naz says, “that I was able to get my name on the distribution list and was able to receive relief goods in a significant amount. Now have a tent and enough to get by.”

In any crisis, women are usually the hardest hit, and they are often the least able to recover from the effects of natural disasters. They are highly vulnerable. Hundreds of women like Naz have been affected by the floods and are still waiting for help. CARE has adopted a distribution process that enables most vulnerable households to be the first to receive supplies. Through formation of relief committees for men and women, CARE is able to effectively identify such families and prioritize them in the distribution process.

About CARE: Founded in 1945 with the creation of the CARE Package, CARE is a leading humanitarian organization fighting global poverty. CARE has more than six decades of experience delivering emergency aid during times of crisis. Our emergency responses focus on the needs of the most vulnerable populations, particularly girls and women. Women and girls are at the heart of CARE’s emergency relief efforts because our experience shows that their gains translate into benefits for families and communities.