'Pakistan winter relief effort mustn't leave older people out in cold'


HelpAge International is currently distributing 3,500 cold weather kits in Pakistan to help older people this winter.

The kits contain blankets, shawls and other woollen clothing for older people in Nowshera, an area affected by this year's catastrophic flooding.

Temperatures are already dropping in the country and the coldest months will be December and January when the mercury will plummet to well below freezing.

Blankets to be distributed in Pakistan HelpAge is distributing woollen blankets in Pakistan

But although the kits will help meet a basic need, shelter from the harsh weather is the next priority - as older people are particularly vulnerable to the cold. And if they are already affected by the floods, then they are even more at risk.

Winter intensifies vulnerability

"We know from our other ‘winterisation' projects in countries such as Kyrgyzstan, that extreme cold weather only further intensifies older people's vulnerabilities," says Dave Mather, HelpAge's regional representative for South Asia.

"The search for food and fuel is challenging for many poor households at the best of times. Add mobility problems and poor health to the mix and compound it further with a natural disaster and you have the most vulnerable group there can be in an emergency."

'The cold nights are getting tougher'

Khabara Bibi has lived in Nowshera for 27 years and fears the upcoming winter season. She lives alone as her children are married and live with their spouses.

Although she has already received a winter kit from HelpAge International, she is still worried about shelter.

Her house has no access to a toilet or running water. "I haven't yet received any kind of support to rebuild my house. My nights are getting tougher as it gets cold at night, and I've had a fever due to the cold winds," she says.

HelpAge woollen blankets HelpAge are giving these blankets but older people also need shelter

We'll have carers to support older people

Asma Akbar is the country manager for HelpAge International in Pakistan.

She says: "Though the image is often of older people living with their extended family this is often not the case. The relatives are not around.

"In winter we hope to have teams of companions and carers coming to support older people.

"We'll be increasing the distribution of the winter kits and have more "age-friendly" approaches for specific shelters.

"We will also encourage other agencies to build houses with very few steps, and ensure older people have only short walks to water and sanitation facilities.

"Mobility in the winter months is a problem for older people across the world. It's no different in Pakistan.

"At least 3 million people with disabilities and older people have been affected by the floods. Very often these vulnerable groups are forgotten in the humanitarian response and reconstruction phase.

"If particular attention is not paid towards them, they will remain largely ‘invisible'."

Flood appeal raises £62m

Meanwhile the UK's Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) says its Pakistan Floods Appeal has so far raised £62 million.

This moves the appeal into the top three of the most generously supported appeals in the charity's 45-year history, alongside the 2004 tsunami and the Haiti earthquake.

Fundraising for the floods will continue until the end of January 2011.

AgeUK, sister organisation to HelpAge International, is a member organisation of the DEC.

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  • mohammad hussain (05 January 2012)

    its very nice page i like it very much as pakistani and human being also

  • Dr. Jai Kershan MD, MSPH (USA) (01 January 2012)

    Gr8...orginization...well done

  • Rehan Iqbal (06 July 2011)

    HelpAge international is the great organization, HAI improve the livelihood after flood with help of cash grant(conditional & un-conditional)This is a best & helpful way to help the disaster affectees.

  • Ibrar Ahmad (07 May 2011)

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  • Amjad Hussain Larik (12 February 2011)

    That was Also Good And And helpfull And Supportable for oldage and Poor People....

  • pell grant (14 January 2011)

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  • muhammad akram (09 January 2011)

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  • Abdul Waheed Shaikh (26 December 2010)

    Dear Sir/Madam,
    No doubt Pakistan is already facing a lot of problems, but after flood Pakistan is facing many problems. This flood set the history of damages in Pakistan, during flood Pakistan have lost majority of resources like ( Human, Agriculture & Livestock ) through which the economy of Pakistan will be affected. In these difficult days many organisations ( Local, national & International NGO'S )are busy in there own work while providing each & every facility to flood affecties, but HelpAge International is one which is busy in there own work during flood in order to providing facilities to Older people. The attractive symbol of HelpAge International is "Buzurg Dost" which makes differenciation of aim among HelpAge & Other Organisations. HelpAge International have distributed 2000 Nutrition Begs, 2000 Personnel Kits, 2000 Mosquito Nets with Mospell Oil, 50 Wheel Chairs, 300 Sticks, 25 Pair of Crutuches, 50 Hearing Aids & 1500 Winterization Kits among flood affecties older people of Province Sindh in (District Shikarpur & District Jacobabad) from October 2010 to December 2010.
    Now HelpAge International INSHAALLAH will go in next phase for making arrangement of Eye Camps among 2 Districts of Sindh & distribution of Cash Assistant among older people who can't work more due to his/her old age.
    Thanks & Regards

    Abdul Waheed Shaikh
    Logistic Officer
    HelpAge International
    District Jacobabad, Sindh Province Pakistan

    For comments & suggestions please follow given contact
    E.mail: shaikhwaheedmba@yahoo.com, waheedshaikh07@gmail.com
    cell: 0333/0

  • Dr.Gulzar Hussain (14 December 2010)

    Flood Relief Operation in Noshehra of KPK.
    Flood Relief Operation in Noshehra of KPK

    its a pleasure to see the Help Age International are busy in relief work in the cities of Khyber Pakhtun Khwa inundated by floods since 29th July 2010. Many organizations (local, national & iternational) came for the help of effected people but the single organization I want to appreciate is HelpAge International. HelpAge provided blankets, shawls and caps to the elder people of our area. First thing which attracted me is their title "Buzurg Dost" (friends of elders)and second thing which forced me search website and write this comment is the working method of HelpAge staff.
    The flood victims are in great pain and misery. Their agony is increasing day by day. The diseases like skin infections (scabies) diarrhea, gastritis are on the rise. Scabies and diarrhea have already become epidemic. While working in the villages Dogana, and Khwaishge of Noshera we witnessed that putrefied dead bodies of Buffalos, cows, horses and donkeys lying on the roads and in the fields. Ever since 29th July 2010 when the poor inhabitants and these animals were hit by the flood, without any prior warning. Nobody has bothered to dump these bodies so that the flood victims could be saved from further pain and agony in the form of diseases. However our team members took the pains to do the job, and with the help of locals we were able to dump the bodies of animals in order to save the population from further misery and pain in the form of infections.
    Most of the affected persons are afflicted with different diseases. Due to unavailability of clean drinking water, the water born diseases like cholera, typhoid, hepatitis A, shigella, diarrhoea, skin infection are on the rise. Most of the children are hit by diarrhea and chest infections. Skin eruption in the form of contact dermatitis are rampant. Every 2nd person is hit by skin eruption of one type on the other. Breast feeding mothers are unable to feed their children due to non availability of proper & balanced diet. Now they have need in Health and Nutrition Issues on ground we start a primary health facility center in charsada distt and needs the more help from international organization in Health and Nutrition.
    Age wise breakup.
    children (1 month to 15years) 6000
    Men (16 years to 80years) 3800
    Women (16 years to 80 years)5200

    Dr. Gulzar Hussain
    President .
    Humanitarian Aid for Social Development(HASD)
    Office#4,5 2nd Floor ,Maher Plaza ,Khyber Bazar,
    Peshawar,KPK Pakistan

  • Mir Alam (16 November 2010)

    Dear Sir/Madam,
    August 2010 was worst for the people of Nowshera as well as the people of all other areas of Khyber Pukhtoon Khaw and all over the Pakistan. It was a disaster which I never seen during my life. Many organizations (local, national & iternational) came for the help of effected people but the single organization I want to apriciate is HelpAge International. HelpAge provided blankets, shawls and caps to the elder people of our area. First thing which atracted me is their title "Buzurg Dost" (friends of elders)and second thing which forced me search webcite and write this comment is the working method of HelpAge staff. I want to apriciate your hard worker team members who went door to door for registration of older people and distribution of blankets, shawls & caps. I want to apriciate very good, unique and sweet behavior of your field officer Mr. Aslam and his team members. Sir I want to make an appeal for the provision of shelters and medical facility to the people of Nowshera. I hope your organization will do some thing for the aged people of Nowshera because your organization is working for those people who are being taken granted from other NGOs. With bundle of thanks.

  • Professor Syed Hamidullah. (30 October 2010)

    Dear Colleague,
    The flood of August 2010 was the only worst disaster in the history of Pakistan that has destroyed every thing from the peak to zero. It is good that Help-age International is distributing kits contain blankets, shawls and other woolen clothing to senior citizens in Nowshera/Charsadda and other flood affected areas. Being a Professor of Sociology and as participant observer I have certain reservation for the foolproof and just help to real/needy seniors if I am asked write. Thank you.

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