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Young woman holds up blanket in front of wall with water marks

Where the water was

"Can you see the difference in the colour of walls behind me? This is where the water was at the peak of the floods."

That's what 19-year-old Zahida said, pointing to how high the flood water in 2022 came up in the house she shares with her husband in a rural part of southern Pakistan.

To escape the flooding, she and her husband went to Thar, many hours away. All they could take was a few belongings; they left everything else behind. 

When they returned home after four months, when the water had receded, they needed to start over. That was hard; they returned empty-handed. The only piece of furniture that survived the flood was a charpai, or bedstead. 

"What could we do?" she said. "We had little money or savings as my husband is a daily wage labourer who was struggling to get work."

Then they found out about Strengthening Participatory Organization (SPO), a partner of Oxfam Canada in Pakistan. 

"Within a few days, I got a new blanket, and shawls, one for my husband and one for me," she said of the help they received. "We got covering tents and ropes so I could fix my bedstead, which was in bad shape after all the rains."

Along with that aid, made possible with support from the Humanitarian Coalition, a hand pump and latrine were installed in the compound where Zahida and her husband live with her husband's family. 

For the women, the hand pump is very welcome; they no longer have to walk two hours to get clean water. "It is a relief to be able to get good water so easily," she said.

"We are slowly fixing our home and restarting life," she said.