Karachi: Speakers at a post-flood 2022 consultation demanded the government to take measures to ensure proper rehabilitation of vulnerable communities in Sindh as they faced marginalization during the flood relief process.

The consultation “Advocacy Meeting on Floods 2022 in Sindh: Mapping Vulnerabilities in Relief and Rehabilitation” was jointly organised by National Commission for Human rights (Sindh) and The Knowledge Forum at a local hotel on Tuesday.

The NCHR Member from Sindh Ms. Anis Haroon, Chairperson Sindh Commission on Status of Women Ms Nuzhat Shireen, Member, Sindh Assembly, and Ms. Adeeba Hassan, representatives of PDMA, Sindh Social Welfare department, civil society, and international organizations attended the consultation.

NCHR Member Sindh Ms. Anis Haroon said it is the need of the time that the hurdles being faced by the flood affectees after the passage of months should be documented and a proper mechanism be devised for speedy rehabilitation.

“Pregnant women, persons with disabilities, children and people with compromised health are suffering the most in displacement situation,” she noted. She further emphasized that the government should ensure transparency in the rehabilitation process. “Non transparency in disaster response affects the vulnerable communities the most, as they don’t have the voice, the agency and external assistance to influence change.”

She said many areas in Sindh are still inundated under flood water where people suffer a lot due to winter seasons. No healthcare facility is available for flood victims.

MS. Nuzhat Sheerin, Chairperson SCSW, said that when she visited the camps, found that women and children were suffering most because of the nature of their vulnerability. Moreover, she said that government departments involved in aid lacked data of the vulnerable people which complicated the overall process of delivery of relief and rehabilitation.

Ms Zeenia Shaukat, Director of The Knowledge Forum (TKF) said her organisation is working with the NCHR to conduct a research seeking to map the experiences of the vulnerable communities in Nawabshah and Sanghar during and after the floods. “These communities include scheduled caste population, women, transgender, disabled persons and displaced persons.”

The field researchers of The Knowledge Forum Zameer Awan and Ishak Soomro shared the data from the field. “Based on responses from Sanghar and Nawabshah/Benazirabad, every community has been affected by the rains and the floods in these areas.

However, the challenges for those from scheduled castes (particularly Bheels, Meghwars and Kolhis) and the Christian community engaged in sanitation work have been particularly bad. That is because many affected people from scheduled communities were dependent on agriculture and floodwater had inundated land and deprived them of their livelihood. Predominantly, they live in kacha houses on land that they do not own, including state-owned land. Such houses have often not been surveyed for assessment of damage,” they noted.

The research led by TKF in collaboration with NCHR will be ready later this month. Anita of Sindhuwaas Foundation said the flood affected people in many areas in Qubo Saeed Khan did not receive any substantial support for reconstruction of homes. Only food relief was distributed.

Camp at Hub Chowki has over 500 people living. They don’t want to go back as all their homes and livestock has perished, she said. A large number of people are sick. No healthcare facility is available. 80% people in camps are suffering malnutrition. Pirbhu Satyani of International Rescue Committee highlighted a recent research which noted 40% cases of discrimination. Most of people were unaware of where to get healthcare. He said issues such as standing water and lack of information on where to find post floods assistance contributed to communities’ distress.

Representative from the Legal Aid Society while noting her organization’s experiences of relief and rehabilitation activities said there were various cases of exploitation of children, who were forced to do labour to protect the lands of the large landlords. She said her organisation worked on filing petitions to free those children from forced labour.

Proper platform should be there for dewatering. It did not happen in many areas. People’s main demand was dewatering. PDMA Sindh representative Ajay Kumar said that PDMA had facilitated NGOs for NOCs.
No formalities were required as NDMA had notified that for 3 months no strict requirements were there. During flood we faced problem in relief distribution. S and GAD provided focal person in each district.

Survey reveals 2.1 million damages partially or completely in 23 districts. 2.4 million Ration bags, 900,000 tents distributed, 1.6 million blankets. Dewatering on Right bank is completed by 93% water dewatering, on Left bank 97% dewatered. Rs 1 million on each death compensation is being provided. 121 boats were distributed in all Districts.

Sadiqa Salahuddin from Indus Resource Centre, Ross Mahta of Community World Service, Ms Malka Khan from Aurat Foundation, Kazi Khizar of Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, and Adnan from Sindh Human Rights Commission, researchers Ishak Soomro and Zamir Awan and others also spoke.