As millions of people are in urgent need of help after devastating floods have left vast swathes of Pakistan under water, HelpAge International staff are on the ground speaking to older people from different villages in Pir Piai, Nowshera District.
No outside help came to Pir Piai when the floods hit, and many older people were unable to reach safety as their villages were too far from any public safe places.
“People are living and sleeping under the sky. The situation is very dangerous for older people, particularly older women. Older people are exposed to psychosocial issues, starvation, skin diseases, and other waterborne diseases.” Reported Abdul Jalil, Technical Advisor at HelpAge Pakistan.
Floods have devastated villages in Pir Pai; it is now a village of broken, mud-logged homes.
Saeed ur Rehman (65) showed Abdullah Hameed, Advocacy and Communications Officer at HelpAge Pakistan, the absolute damage the flood waters had done to his mud-plastered home. Saeed, his wife, and seven children cannot enter their house without getting their feet stuck in three feet of mud after the flood waters came rushing in, causing extensive structural damage.
They are now forced to live outside with no shelter and little food. Access to clean water is near impossible for Saeed’s family and the rest of the village, as sources of clean water have been contaminated.
Before the floods, Saeed tells us that life was ok. He had a daily income and could provide a home and food for his family. His children were studying at the local public school. Now he worries about how he will feed and provide shelter to them if help does not come. There is further fear that diseases will start spreading due to the unclean stagnant muddy waters that cover his village.
Rustam Khan’s (80) is a father of five whose house was swept away by the floods. Only a couple of walls are left of the house Rustam worked so hard to build. He told us that they were happy before the floods but now have no shelter, food, or clean drinking water. Rustam and his family have received no help and he have little hope that they will get the food and shelter they desperately need.
Following an unprecedented heatwave of over 50C, the floods have hit Pakistan at a time when they are facing severe economic challenges. It is believed that out of the 33 million affected, around 2.3 million are older people, who are particularly at risk of different factors including airborne diseases.