Every morning for the past 40 years, Fazlay Razak has woken up and headed out into the nearby farm fields to work. But not anymore.
“Everything was swept away by the floods,” Fazlay recalls. “Everything is gone. The sugar cane. The wheat. It has all disappeared.”
In July, the muddy waters of the Indus river inundated his community in Charsadda and now a river that used to be one kilometre away from his home is just steps from his doorway. Fazlay spent days digging out the metres of mud that were deposited inside his house.
Surviving the floods
For two weeks Fazlay, his wife and seven children lived on the roof of their house. Slowly and with much difficulty, he and his neighbours helped dig each other out.
Shovel by shovel, they scooped out the mud through a hole in the brick wall until there was enough room for them to move back in. That’s where they’re living now, but their belongings are meagre.
“You can see the clothing my children wear,” says Fazlay. “They are rags. We don’t have beds to sleep on anymore. Winter is coming and it is going to get cold. We have received food from the Pakistan Red Crescent, and have enough for now. But it’s not permanent. In twenty days, it will all be gone.”
The situation is dire and malnutrition rates have risen to 14 per cent of the population. Healthcare providers fully expect this number to rise in regions affected by the flood in the coming months if help isn’t given now.
The Pakistan Red Crescent, with support from the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, has already distributed food parcels to more than two million people. Further distributions are planned, though funding is running out.
But as Fazlay knows, it will be a long time before he can reap another harvest. “I can’t grow food for my four daughters and three sons at the moment,” he says. “I don’t know what I will do if I don’t get anymore help.”
Find out more about the Pakistan floods