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Thursday, April 2, 2015

The community of Midh Ranjah works together to reduce suffering and vulnerability in the wake of flooding

In September 2014, the Chennab River in the Sargodha district of Punjab, Pakistan, wreaked havoc on hundreds of villages. The river overflowed its banks and flooded hundreds of acres of farmland.

Farmers watched in horror as the murky water flooded their crops and destroyed their main source of livelihood. The flood pushed the already poor families further into extreme poverty as they lost everything they had, including their homes.

Farming families were devastated. And in the midst of all this suffering, support from the government was insufficient to compensate the families for their losses.

Finding hope

Thanks to the generosity of Canadians, HOPE International Development Agency was able to partner with a community in Midh Ranjha and provide them with emergency help and supplies.

In response to the offer of help, the community formed a relief committee made up of community leaders, farmers, religious leaders, laborers, and government workers to determine the best way to distribute the emergency support and relief to community members, especially those most in need.

The committee identified the most vulnerable members of their community, such as women that are widows or have very small land holdings, and women with large families but only one income source. These families were truly the most vulnerable, uncertain as to where they would find their next meal in the wake of the flood. The community worked together to assemble and distribute ration packages of ghee, sugar, flour, rice, tea, onion, lentils, matches, salt, and chilies to these families.

The community had found a way to help the most vulnerable among them. And the recipients of this help were both overjoyed and amazed. None of them had ever been given this type of support.

The support provided not only met the immediate needs of the most vulnerable but also started the community on its journey of recovery. Equally importantly, especially for the women in the community, the support showed them that someone cared enough to give this support, and their own community cared enough to make sure the women received the help they so urgently needed.