Just days ago, the surging River Kabul broke a protective embankment, flooding villages and hundreds of acres of farmland in Nowshera district, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP). Islamic Relief had been trying to reach stranded families, but 7-8 feet of surging floodwaters held us back.
Alhamdulillah, since the waters have begun receding we have been able to get through, providing over 200 families with desperately needed food packs filled with staples such as flour, rice, cooking oil, pulses, sugar, tea and salt.
But while the rains have stopped, many places remain submerged. Worse, new monsoons are expected this month. What new horrors lie ahead for those who have already suffered and lost so much?
Scenes of devastation
Almost everywhere I looked in Nowshera, I saw devastation.
In this area, floodwaters killed 10 people. Hundreds of houses were washed away in the torrent, leaving families with only the scant protection of makeshift tents perched on slivers of higher land. Some people managed to save charpoy beds, some had blankets, but most had little more than the clothes they wore.
Damaged buildings had begun emerging from the waters. Searching for something – anything – salvageable from their former lives, or perhaps simply trying to make sense of the destruction, some people clambered through their ruined houses. Watching them, I offered up a silent prayer for their safety: those damaged, unstable structures were liable to collapse at any moment.