BADIN: Lightening is never supposed to strike twice at the same place, but the coastal belt of Badin district seems to be an exception. It was hit by a cyclone in 1999 and then by consecutive floods in 2010 and 2011. While the residents of the disaster-prone area have received help from the government and local and foreign humanitarian agencies in the form of food and temporary housing, they continue to yearn for stable jobs.
The Mandhar Development Society (MDS) surveyed the area before deciding to address the issue by providing people livestock. “It was hard to find the way. Everyone was expecting speedy help,” said the MDS chief executive officer, Amir Bux. “We approached the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) office in Pakistan and they were inspired by [our proposal].”
The MDS, with support of the UNDP’s early recovery programme and the Japanese government, decided to distribute goats to widows and physically challenged women in two union councils (UCs) in Badin, Ahmed Rajo and Bhugra Memon.
The combined population of both areas is about 35,000, but over 80 per cent of the residents were forced by the floods to migrate.
Their crops and livestock perished. Almost a quarter of people have not returned to their villages. “Lakho Pir is an example of a village that is still empty,” said Amir. “The Mallahs migrated to Jati in Thatta district and never came back.”
Thus MDS and its partners distributed 120 goats among 60 women in the two UCs over two months. That was in addition to the 370 goats that the MDS, UNDP and the Japanese government had provided to women at the Gharo union council in March. The programme was extended because of the positive impact it had, added Amir.
Sakina Abdullah, 70, was ecstatic when she received a pair of goats on Saturday. “I was forced to beg people for milk, but now I have my own goats. It feels as if I have regained my lost treasure.” Sakina is a widow and lives in Jumho Chhacchar village. Apart from Ahmed Rajo and Bhugra Memon union councils, Seerani, Mithi-III, Kadi Qazia and Kadhan UCs of Badin also suffered from extensive damage.
The national coordinator for the United Nations Development Programme-Global Environment Facility, Masood Ahmed Lohar, said that they have 17 projects for the district.
About 1,200 youngsters had been given technical training. Nearly 1,200 goats, as well as hundreds of floodlights were also distributed among villagers. Solar lights were installed along the coastal belt and the agency partnered with people to redesign irrigation canals.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 23rd, 2012.