When the Pakistan floods hit, almost 1.7 million homes across the country were either damaged or destroyed. In Sindh province alone, the region most affected by the disaster, almost 900,000 houses were damaged.
It’s easy to understand why so many were affected when you look at how they're constructed. A simple house made of wood and mud will always be at risk in a country where monsoon rains beat down for several months each year. But a house such as this would never stand a chance against last year’s severe floods.
In the small village of Goth Shah Nasar, 70% of the houses were entirely washed away, leaving families with nothing.
This is a village made up of both Muslim and Christian families. They have lived harmoniously side by side for years, and the floods affected both groups indiscriminately.
Christian Aid partner Muslim Hands saw the needs of this community, and was funded by our emergency appeal to rebuild all the houses that were lost, for both Christians and Muslims.
Sixty-three `flood-friendly’ brick houses have been constructed, providing new homes, security and refuge for the families who lost everything.
Muslim mother Zahira speaks about her new home: `I feel so pleased to have a new house after we lost our old one with all our things. My children are protected now and this house is much better than the one we had previously.’
Suriya is a Christian, and mother to five children. She smiles as she says `Yes, I like my new house – I like all of it, the kitchen, the bathroom.’
When Suriya returned to her village after spending two months in an emergency camp, she cooked rice to share among the community as a way of thanking God for bringing them back home. She speaks about the way they live happily as a community, as brothers and sisters.
Christian Aid is rightly proud to work with all faiths and none. By providing much needed secure and permanent houses for this mixed-faith community, our work meets the needs of all people affected by the disaster, regardless of belief.
Zahira’s powerful words are a message to us all:`we belong to one village.’