Worried about tomorrow while freezing today

Date Publish: 
01/30/06
Region-Country: 
Pakistan / Asia fr

Faqir Hussain Shah’s weary eyes
follow the queue of people receiving relief deliveries in Narra, a
small town on the bank of the Kunhar River near Balakot. With snows
and rains making life more difficult in the unplanned camp where
his family is now living, Faqir has arrived to join the 425 other
villagers picking up winterization kits to help keep their families
dry and warm. With two more months of winter left in
Pakistan-administered Kashmir, the help is welcomed, but worries
remain.

Faqir, 73, is worried about his 12-member
family that migrated 50 kilometres to Narra from the Kaghan Valley
after the devastating October 8 earthquake. The migration might
have helped his family to avoid the heavy snowfall but not the
sporadic rains drenching the tents where his children and
grandchildren struggle each day against the freezing
temperatures.

As part of its efforts to ensure earthquake
survivors have shelter that protects against snow and rain, IOM has
been distributing winterization kits provided by the British
governments Department for International Development (DFID) in
Narra. The winterization kits included three blankets, two plastic
sheets and rope to help revive wet and falling tents under the
intermittent rains in the area.

Faqir has been living in an unplanned tent
camp in Narra with his two sons and their families for over three
months. He worries about his grandchildren’s health under
these difficult circumstances.

“We huddle together and cover ourselves
with a few blankets before going to sleep in one of the tents. One
of my sons, who is newly-wed, and his wife are using a separate
tent,” says Faqir. “Crowding in a tent before sleep
gives us a sense of security, but no night passes without a
shudder. It will help us if we get more blankets.”

Like Faqir, hundreds of thousands of people
are living in tented villages across the earthquake zone.
It’s been a difficult life after the earthquake destroyed
their homes and their businesses.

“I know that without proper arrangements
we will be spending this winter shivering and trembling,”
says Faqir. “We are already worried about next winter, and
what accommodation we’ll have by then.”