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One year on from Pakistan floods, older people are still struggling

28 Jul 2011

Many older people were left out from the very beginning of the disaster. They received little or no aid and are still struggling to survive.Walking through the streets, visiting people's homes, it's clear that people have lost what they worked their whole lives for. What is worse is that the opportunities to rebuild are far and few between. The past is impossible to get back.

The damage caused by the flood is physical, emotional and social. Yes, people will rebuild their homes but much more is needed than just relief goods and sympathy when there is a whole network of health, shelter, food and income protection missing. 

Many will not recover from the floods

Humanitarian workers and the government have moved on from relief to recovery. However, for the people it affected the most, this progression does not just take place over a few months or a year. This progression is not uniform for all people. Many will never recover from the floods; others will live with the trauma and heal partially. There will be few who will learn, take it as part of life and move on.

Overall the infrastructure is slowly being set back up and people have mustered the energy to move on. People have responsibilities to their families which they need to take care of. But if you talk to them, they seem to have little hope of the future they dreamt of before the floods.

Older people still struggle

To add to all this, there are also people who were "left out" from the very beginning of the disaster. They received little or no aid and are still struggling to survive. These people are women-led homes and older people who are disabled or bedridden.

Even before the flood they were somewhat dependent. Now there are even fewer resources, the situation is a lot worse. There are many villages and communities who were trapped in the areas furthest away from aid distribution points or cut off from the roads due to the floods. These people are still struggling.

With Ramadan coming soon, older people face even more challenges to their health. For older people, fulfilling their religious obligations is extremely important. It is not ok for them to excuse themselves by saying that they are not healthy.

We need to support older people and other vulnerable groups to live with dignity. They grieve in silence! They need help but will not call out. In order for families with older people to recover, they need support - for themselves and as carers.

Read more about our work helping older people after the Pakistan floods

Your comments

Muhammad Akram

Your article is wonderful but you know we need to sensitize people regarding the heart burning issues of human beings. Our media has just forgotten and given little care and time to such issues. Can we have some printed material, so that it can be distributed to create awareness among the masses.

Sarah Marzouk

Hi Muhammed! Glad you liked the article. If you need printed materials, you can order hard copies or download them from the website in the "resources" section. Hope you find what you need. Sarah (from HelpAge)

Ibrar Ahmed

Thanks for serving humanity.Asma aapa geee your Great.God give you long life and good health .

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Asma Akbar

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These blogs are personal reflections and do not necessarily reflect the views of HelpAge International.