V-Day Pakistan Rescue Fund - AMAL Implements Phase 2: Winterzation - Responding to Women & Families Needs in Humanitarian Crises
Since the floods began to ravage Pakistan in early August, V-Day has been working closely with AMAL Human Development Network and longtime V-Day activist Nighat Rizvi on a project designed to bring urgently needed supplies to families in extremely vulnerable priority areas in the region. During the first phase (August - October 2010), AMAL has already distributed relief goods to 160 families, built trust and advocated results.
AMAL is now entering Phase 2 of the project, and has determined, with its network partners, that winterization needs, energy supply, food & hygiene kits and women & new-borns supplies are most needed in a pro-active gender sensitive manner.
To meet these challenges, AMAL will dispense four types of kits to 180 families, including:
Winterization kits - with the onset of winter and keeping in mind the low temperatures in the area, those affected need beddings and warm cloths urgently. AMAL will prepare a winterization kit which will include shawls, quilt/blankets, beddings etc. AMAL volunteers will also help in collecting shoes and warm cloths from their friends and relatives.
Food kits - the food kit will include essential food items that can feed a family of approximate six members for one month. Assessment has shown a severe shortage of these items and women and children are the most affected among all
Hygiene kits - hygiene kits are on the lower side of the supply in relief work and women remain in the constant need of this. Children are usually their responsibility in the local culture and in the absence of hygiene material; children are likely to suffer more. Sickness in disasters adds to the burden of women's role of care to be provided to the family members
Women supplies kits - so far, no separate supplies were provided for women. Women have specific needs which are mostly ignored in such emergency situations. AMAL will develop a women supplies kits that includes basic items for women including torch
Primary beneficiaries - 180 families, especially women and children, of the targeted area will be the primary beneficiaries of the project.
AMAL volunteers will physically verify receipt of goods with women and conduct focus groups to ensure feedback is received and use as evidence for the advocacy effort.
WE NEED YOUR HELP! In the face of such a massive natural disaster, women and children are at increased risk of sexual violence. Our sisters in Pakistan need our help now more then ever. PLEASE GIVE WHAT YOU CAN!
Any amount of money you can donate will help save lives by contributing to the supply of urgently needed kits that will provide essential items to get women and their families through the upcoming winter.
Pakistan is facing the worst floods in its history due to the heaviest monsoon rains seen in the country for more than 80 years. At least 35 districts in north-west Pakistan have been severely affected by the floods, affecting the lives of an estimated over 1.5 million people, while nine other districts have been moderately affected. Some 1,500 people are reported dead, with this number likely to rise as the waters recede.
Assessment studies revealed that women and children are the most affected among all. According to the Reproductive Health Response in Crises Consortium (RHRC), 85 percent of persons displaced by the flood are women and children. As the floodwaters rise, they are at acute risk from starvation, exposure, sexual assault, and water-borne "winterization" diseases.
Assessment and follow-up study conducted by AMAL in district Charsaddah (Khyber Pakhtunkhaw) revealed that women and children are the most affected. Due to the strict "Pardah" culture of the Province, women cannot ask for their essentials and have no permission to go out of their filthy smelly camps / rooms which are packed to capacity (average 5-6 families per camp / room) with no electricity. They are facing shortage of blankets, warm clothing, food, water, hygiene items, beddings, baby food, utensils, separate toilets and fresh air. One of the respondents mentioned that "a woman delivered two babies few days back but due to the shortage of facilities and conservative culture, she was not treated properly which resulted in death of one baby and her own condition was very critical. Several pregnant women are also present in project location site". He added that "one woman had a surgery just before the floods, her wounds were oozing and infected. The environment is entirely infected with flies and mosquitoes".
Study also revealed that in darkness women and girl children run a high risk of getting sexually assaulted, mothers are unable to properly feed infants, they cannot go to washroom because of fear of snake bites, sexual abuse and harassment; they cannot properly give medication to sick family members, especially infants, and children and they are unable to find material for specific needs especially related to menstruation and personal cleanliness. The loss of homes and livelihoods is a further strain and cause of stress; for women, access to their needs becomes even more precarious as their support systems have been eroded. In this environment of constant fear, immobility and lack of hygiene related material, skin diseases and other diseases are prevalent. So, in order to meet the challenges of GBV, food security and disease, women need protection mechanisms from GBV and winterization related materials.