A new meaning of flood


by Deborah Underdown, CARE media specialist in Pakistan

August 24, 2010

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.

A new meaning of flood image 1

Flood waters are still present on Nowshera, where some people told us that their homes are still submerged in 4 feet of water.

A new meaning of flood image 2

Children in Nowshera wade through flood water to salvage what they can from their homes.

A new meaning of flood image 3

A camp set up by CARE and local partner IDEA in the village of Nowshera.

Photos: 2010 Deborah Underdown/CARE

Read more about the floods and CARE's relief efforts in Pakistan >