A year on from Pakistan’s worst ever deluge, hundreds of thousands of people remain stranded without the means to return home or rebuild their lives. Cited as one of the most vulnerable countries susceptible to the affects of climate change, an estimated 8 million individuals impacted by the floods are still urgently in need of shelter, food, sanitation and basic healthcare.
Long after the emergency response by the aid organisations ended, only a few long-term development projects were ever implemented. Many of those who returned back to their villages after the floodwaters subsided were forced into debt or were otherwise dependent on help from relatives in order to get back on their feet. For the most vulnerable displaced families such as female-headed households, the elderly, sick or disabled, bonded labourers and farmers or those forced hundreds of kilometres from their homes into camps, there has been little assistance. After escaping unimaginable disaster, they have spent the past twelve months eking out a desperate existence in unofficial camps or on the edge of cities. Under weather beaten shelters and tents, without access to aid, thousands of marginalised long-term flood affectees have become the latest undercurrent of society.
As monsoon season approaches and a new round of flooding is predicted for 2011, people across Pakistan fear the worst as weather patterns begin to change. The future for Pakistan’s climate refugees looks bleak.
This story is part of Climate Change by NOOR.