Pakistan, Asia

PAK03 - Pakistan Flood Relief: Partnership Reports



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Report Date: May 5, 2011

Update from Pakistan

 

In July 2010, Pakistan suffered extreme flooding caused by record-breaking rainfall. This displaced hundreds of thousands of families and made 7 million people homeless. About 200,000 Christians in Punjab province and 600,000 Christians and Hindus in Sindh province have been affected by the floods. Christians and members of other minority religions are being treated as second-class citizens. They often receive little assistance or are excluded altogether.

new houses started
 

EGM Pakistan has decided to sponsor the rebuild of 100 houses that have been washed away by the floods. It is not possible for the government to provide relief to all the highly vulnerable displaced persons as the magnitude of the tragedy is too big for its scant resources. Minority groups, particularly Christians, will be the last to receive help, if at all. 

One of Bright Hope World’s existing partners, Edward Qasar from Lahore and the organization he leads are the primary agents of this house building. We had just become involved with them in Lahore when the floods came and he came to us with a plan to build these houses.

Because we had just done one project with Edward and EGM, we decided to appoint another partner in Pakistan as our Pakistan Director. His name is Azam Gill from Islamabad, someone we have known for 10 years. His role is to visit each location during the building phase to ensure quality, compliance and delivery. He has been once to the first location with Edward and again without announcement to the village. This ensures authenticity and maximizes the learning from project to project. 
 

Housing Project

Chanda Singh Village

On 2nd April Brothers Azam Gill and Edward Qaser travelled to Chanda Singh Village, the site of the first rebuild.  Chanda Singh is not far from Lahore near to the Indian border in the Punjab Province. 

They surveyed all the affected families and collected their family information with National Identity Card and Oath Commission letter and obtained the thumb/signature of the head of each family.  In this village there are 250 families, of which 30 are Christian families.  12 families had no houses and they collected their information. 

In need of a home
 

Initially they have started work for six families and the men work as volunteers with masons to start rebuilding their homes.  They get sand from the River Sutlaj. The six remaining houses will be started at the end of April.  Each day they start their work with prayers and every evening are thankful for God's blessing.    

Many meetings were held with the Christian families to encourage them in their faith in the midst of great opposition; New Testaments were distributed to the people. A number of other meetings were held with the wider community and many more needs were identified. They started an Adult Education Centre in this village and have classes three days a week for flood victims' families.

Chanda Singh is a backward area, far from the cities and near to the Indian border. It is a very neglected area but with rich soil and fertile land. There is a lot of peasant agriculture with very good fields, animals and flocks of sheep. The people are desperately poor with little infrastructure from the government to support their agricultural efforts.

Azam re-visited this area on 7th May on his own. Of the second group of 6 houses to be built, only two were under construction yet because a lack of material is causing delays. The masons for the first 6 houses have not yet been fully paid and are causing some problems!

Overseeing the work
 

Unfortunately the roofing materials for the first 6 houses were very cheap and are not up to standard. On the basis of this we have asked for better material to be used which has increased the price of each house. This is part of the learning process.

From the first 6 houses, the one of Mr Mindar Masih is still incomplete. He needs 2,000 more bricks to finish the building and the roof to finish the work.

These are the first houses to be built and a trial. It gives us a better understanding of the issues related to materials, availability of materials and trades-people to do the building and what to look out for. 
 

Kotri Sindh

Kotri Sindh is about 12 hours by train from Lahore where Edward Qasar and the EGM team live. The plan is for them to travel there late April and stay there for the duration of the building of these houses. Funds for the commencement of 20 more houses at Kotri Sindh village have been released.

The team has been there and completed a survey of the village. There are 13 Christian and 7 Hindu families who need houses.  The team obtained all their information with their National Identity Card and Oath Commission letter.  The plan is to start building these houses in May and it will take 25 days to build the 20 houses.  Once again each family will work with masons to build their own homes. 

So grateful
 

While there for the survey they also ran a Health Centre for two days for flood victims' families with the help of Dr Younas Rehmat.

 

Financial

The cost for one house has become US$890 and this provides families with a 14x15 ft room. Included in this price is:
8000 bricks
10 bags cement
Iron rods for roof frame and door beams
800 roofing tiles

 

Visit in July

The building programs will continue into the summer so all the houses are built before the next winter. The Bright Hope World Field Director, Kevin Honoré will visit Pakistan and Chandra Singh in July 2011 and a further report will be written.