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“My father drank alcohol daily and used to beat my mother,” quietly recounted a 15 years old daughter of Mohan from Haji Chanesar Mari village.

Mohan, father to five sons and two daughter, was a hopeless alcoholic, living with his family in the small but close-knit village of Haji Chanesar Mari in Umerkot. He was a selfish man who only thought of himself and never considered the impacts of his drunkenness on his wife and children. Many evenings, Mohan’s children witnessed their mother, Devi, being beaten by their drunk father. Some evenings, one of the children would become victims of his physical and verbal abuse as well.

As a small, independent farmer, Mohan earned well. Despite his sufficient earnings, Devi, was unable to save any money for the dowry of their daughters or for the purchase of cattle for the family’s nutritional support. All of Mohan’s extra earnings were consumed on alcohol. “He was consuming alcohol of at least PKR 200 regularly,” shared Devi. “At times, when he would be out of money, he would lend money from others to fulfill his alcohol craving.”

“Despite having such a beautiful family, I have mostly thought of myself only throughout my adult life,” shared Mohan himself one day. “I never dream about a better life, education, health or of other facilities for my children.”

Sajan, a gender activist in their village, took a lead to work with families affected by severe alcoholism. He had selected at least five households with whom to start work with. People advised him to consider working on other social issues, realizing the challenges he may face working with alcohol addicts. However, Sajan remained firm in his disposition as he considered alcoholism as one of the root causes of many gender based discriminatory practices and mind sets in their community. “Local alcohol is produced and is easily available from nearby villages,” Sajan pointed the severity of this issue.

Sajan and his colleague decided to train local children to play the role of drug addicts and their family members and demonstrate how one alcoholic would easily ruin a whole family. This drama was performed in Mohan’s house in his very presence. Mohan’s own son performed the role of an alcoholic who drank daily and beat his wife. At the end of the interactive play, a communal issue (alcoholism) was laid in front of the acting village leader in the play to find a resolution, seeking support from other men of the community as well. The alcoholic, played by Mohan’s son, was not even considered in the village decision making as the community saw him as a senseless man who was incapable of supporting himself or his family. “It was a very shameful moment for me that the character played by my son was hated by everyone and was failing everywhere in the community,” Mohan said disappointedly, “I realized that that could become the future of my children if I continue to drink this way.”

The story and performances touched Mohan’s slumbering soul and made him realize the impact of his disgraceful attitude on his family. He promised to quit drinking alcohol. Mohan kept his promise and quit soon after he saw the theater performance. Relinquishing a severe addiction as such as suddenly left Mohan unwell and ill. At this time, Sajan supported Mohan in acquiring medical support in Umerkot city where the doctor strictly advised him not to consume alcohol at all during this time. If he followed his advice, Mohan’s health would be better soon.

It has been month and half since Mohan has consumed a single drop of alcohol. Mohan and his family are very grateful to Sajan for not only helping Mohan leave his addiction but also in re-strengthening the family’s long lost bond. “I have stopped hanging out with friends who drank with me. I wish to become a proud father for my children and a responsible husband to my wife.”

Small efforts can sometimes bring a big change. We should never gauge or underestimate any effort that is made with complete sincerity and dedication; the results may not be seen at once but gradually it may change lives positively.

Photo credit: Dawn News

At least five hundred mud houses were destroyed when a fire broke out on the afternoon of May 10th, in village Vakrio near Islamkot town in Tharparkar district. The reported fire broke out due to a short circuit and immediately engulfed a thatched house in the village Vakrio. Due to strong winds, the fire spread to more than 500 thatched and cemented houses, reducing them all to ashes and rubble within minutes.

Luckily, at that time that the fire erupted, village residents were out working in the fields, saving them from the ravenous fire. Seven people from the village have however been reported injured. Most of the village livestock was also grazing in the fields at that time of the day, yet around 100 cattle have reported been killed in the fire.

Vakrio residents ran out their houses to save their lives, but did not have ample time to save their livestock or their belongings. All their ornaments, clothes, crockery, seeds stocks for next cultivation, stocks of fodder, food, were all burnt to ashes in front of their eyes.

The village residents all tried their best to extinguish the fire together by throwing barrels of water and sand on the blazing fire, but despite their efforts, they were not able to save the hundreds of homes. Only two hundred houses in the entire village were unharmed from the fire.

This is  the tenth such incident this year, on an average around three houses have been burned in each incident, but there has been no immediate solution to this recurring tragedy.

The people of Vakrio spent the night in the open land and appealed to relevant authorities and welfare departments to help them rebuild their houses and rehabilitate back to their usual life.

Emergency shelter kits, food package and nonfood items such as cooking utensils to cook their food are immediate requirements of the affected communities.

Community World Service Asia Response: Community World Service is in contact with local partners in the area on the updated information of the tragic event. It is closely monitoring and will devise its response plan accordingly.

Contacts:
Felix Dennis Joseph
Associate Director
Disaster Management Program
Email: dennis.joseph@communityworldservice.asia
Cell: +92 300 8557414

Palwashay Arbab
Head of Communications
Email: palwashay.arbab@communityworldservice.asia
Ph: +92 42 3586 5338

Sources: www.dawn.com

The people of Sindh are likely to experience another wave of extreme heat for the third consecutive year – albeit 2 months earlier than in previous years –  as the mercury surged to unseasonably high temperatures on Monday, April 10, 2017.

The Met Office reported that Karachi would experience hot to very hot weather on Tuesday (today) and the maximum temperature would range at 42°C, with humidity, and a “real feel” averaging in at 44°C.    In view of the forecast, the mayor of Karachi announced setting up 12 centers in the city’s hospitals for heatstroke patients and the Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) is spearheading contingency plans across Sindh.

In other parts of the province, Sukkur, at 46°C, as well as Hyderabad and Nawabshah at 45°C are recorded among the hottest places in Sindh today.   Government officials fear that the coming three days would be highly critical and have ordered all hospitals across the province to be on high alert.

Weather forecasts for the coming 10 days indicate that temperatures are expected to soar even higher. In districts Tharparkar and Umerkot of Sindh, expected temperatures will be 44-45°C from the 12th through the 16th, accelerating to 47°C from the 17th through the 19th. Temperatures in Shaheed Benazirabad District (formerly Nawabshah) are predicted to increase to 45- 46°C from the 11th through the 14th, rising to 46 – 47°C from 15th through the 19th. Temperatures are predicted to begin to decrease steadily from the 20th through the rest of April.

When the human body’s core temperature exceeds 40 degrees Celsius it becomes very difficult for the body to cool itself.  This can lead to heat exhaustion, heat stroke — and often even death.   Young children, the elderly, persons with pre-existing conditions such as heart disease and diabetes, and, persons working outdoors are particularly vulnerable to heatstroke.  Women are more susceptible than men, and the obese are also more susceptible to heat exhaustion and heat stroke.   Contrary to popular belief, electric fans are more harmful than do good during periods of extreme heat, as blowing hot air decreases the body’s ability to cool itself.

A severe heat wave with temperatures as high as 49 °C (120 °F) struck southern Pakistan in June 2015, resulting in the deaths of more than 1,000 people from dehydration and heat stroke, mostly in Sindh province and its capital city, Karachi.  The heatwave also struck the same region in 2016; however, due to good coordination and anticipatory response, mitigation measures and awareness raising campaigns, few human lives were lost.

Community World Service Asia Response:

Community World Service is closely monitoring the situation through close contact with the local authorities and will react accordingly. Community World Service Asia provided preventive and curative support to people affected or at-risk of the heatwaves in 2015 and 2016.

Contacts:

Karen Janjua
Senior Program Advisor
Regional Programs and Resource Mobilization
Email: karen.janjua@communityworldservice.asia
Tel: +92 51 230 7484

Palwashay Arbab
Head of Communications
Email: palwashay.arbab@communityworldservice.asia
Tel: +92 42 3586 5338

Sources:
www.tribune.com.pk
www.dawn.com
www.accuweather.com/en/pk/pakistan-weather

photo credit: ROUF BHAT/AFP/Getty Images

At least fourteen people have reportedly died in an avalanche in Chitral’s Sher Shal area in Pakistan this Sunday. According to the Chitral Scouts Commandant, Col Nizamuddin Shah, bodies of fourteen people, including women and children, have been recovered from the debris so far. He added that twenty-five houses have been buried under the snow and five have been totally destroyed.

The same region has been hit by heavy snowfall, reaching as deep as four feet in some areas.

A Frontier Constabulary soldier has also died and six others have been injured when a Chitral scout post was directly hit by a second avalanche in Chitral’s Pishotan area near the Pak-Afghan border. The injured soldiers were rescued early morning, announced ISPR.

“There is no way to rush the injured persons to the Chitral hospital [either] because all roads in the valley have been blocked due to heavy snowfall, while evacuation operations were also delayed by the weather” Chitral Deputy Commissioner Shahab Hameed Yousafzai shared.

The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) has activated the National Emergency Operations Centre to coordinate rescue and relief efforts in the avalanche-hit area.

Community World Service Asia is in contact with Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) and local partners in the area and will devise its response strategy, should there be any need of emergency response.

Contacts:

Karen Janjua
Senior Advisor
Regional Programs and Resource Mobilization
Email: karen.janjua@communitryworldservice.asia
Cell: +92 51 5496532

Palwashay Arbab
Head of Communications
Email: palwashay.arbab@communityworldservice.asia
Cell: +92 42 3586 5338

Sources: www.dawn.com

source: aljazeera.com and AFP

More than a hundred people have been killed as a series of avalanches triggered by days of heavy snowfall around hit Afghanistan. In one village alone, more than fifty people have died in the avalanche. Officials warned on Sunday that the death toll may rise further.

The avalanches struck after three days of heavy snow fall, destroying many homes and blocked roads in central and northeastern provinces. The ruthless weather and high snow levels hampered rescue efforts to reach isolated villages, thus, raising fears about the toll rising sharply.

Most of the casualties  are however reported in remote Nuristan province, where at least fifty people were killed in a single village. Two entire villages were buried in Bargmatal district; 50 bodies were recovered from one village while rescuers are  currently trying to reach the other village.

Elsewhere 54 people were killed in northern and central Afghan provinces, where officials said massive avalanches destroyed 168 houses and killed hundreds of cattle.

At least eighteen people, including three women and two children, In the northeastern province of Badakhshan, have reportedly died and dozens are still trapped under the rubble and snow.  The blockage of roads has made it difficult however for rescue workers to reach them said provincial spokesman Naweed Frotan.

According to provincial spokesman Zabiullah Amani, five more have died in the avalanches in the Balkhab district of Sari Pul province in northern Afghanistan and at least seventy people are trapped under snow are being rescued at the moment.

Two people and over a hundred farming animals have died due to the extremely cold temperature in the western province of Badghis. Whereas in the Parwan province,  just north of Kabul, sixteen people have reportedly died.

The government declared Sunday (which is otherwise a working day in Afghanistan), a public holiday to deter non-essential travel and to ensure schools are closed[1].

Community World Service Asia is collecting information from different sources. Its emergency response teams are ready and will formulate the strategy, should there be any need of emergency response.

Contacts:

Nejabat Khan Safi
Associate Director
Email: nejabat.safi@communitryworldservice.asia
Cell: +93 78 468 6250

Palwashay Arbab
Head of Communications
Email: palwashay.arbab@communityworldservice.asia
Cell: +92 42 3586 5338

Sources:
www.samaa.com

[1] AFP

 

source: The weather channel

Situation: Typhoon Haima has made landfall in the northern Philippines as a Category 4, making it the second typhoon of that intensity to strike the area in just a few days time.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Service Administration (PAGASA) said that the center of Haima, known as “Lawin” in the Philippines, came ashore at around 11:00 pm Philippines time on Wednesday near Baguio in the Cagayan Province. Maximum sustained winds were 140 mph at that time, according to an advisory issued by the Joint Typhoon Warning Center.

After topping out at Category 5 intensity late Tuesday-early Wednesday, Haima weakened some just before making landfall on northern Luzon Island. It remains a powerful and destructive typhoon, however1. It is expected to move westward through the mountainous northern end of Luzon and will exit the landmass by Thursday. It is then expected to track towards southern China.

Heavy rain and strong, damaging winds will continue to hammer northern Luzon through Thursday. Coastal areas will see battering waves and storm surge flooding, as well. PAGASA also says a storm surge of up to 10 feet is possible along more surge-prone bays of northeast Luzon.

Signal No. 4 is also raised over the provinces of Ilocos Sur, Mt. Province, Ifugao, rest of Abra and Calayan Provinces. The rest of Regions 1 and 2 are under Signal No. 3, while Central Luzon and parts of Region 4 are under Signal No. 2, The rest of Region 4, Region 5 and the National Capital Region (Metro Manila) are under Signal No.1 presently.

According to the United Nations Office of Coordination and Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), an estimate of 2.7 million people are likely to be affected while the communities located along the Agno and Cagayan rivers are at the highest risk. It is anticipated that mountainous and far flung areas will be difficult to access as there is a high possibility of damaged bridges, landslides and collapsed infrastructures. This will will hamper access to these communities especially in the mountainous areas of the Cordillera and provinces in Regions 1 and 2.

Community World Service Asia’s Response: Community World Service Asia is closely coordinating with its partner in the Philippines. Deployment plans have been shared and mobilization of its partners, local personnel and volunteers as well as inventory of stockpile. Community World Service Asia will continue to monitor the situation and will plan its response considering the needs.

1 https://weather.com/storms/typhoon/news/super-typhoon-haima-lawin-philippines-china-forecast

Contacts:

Emmeline Managbanag
Deputy Director
Disaster Management Program
Email: mae.managbanag@gmail.com
Cell: +63 0908 102 1016

Palwashay Arbab
Head of Communications
Email: palwashay.arbab@communityworldservice.asia
Cell: +92 42 3586 5338

Picture: http://metro.co.uk/

Monsoon rains continued, with intervals, in different parts of the country leaving at least ten people dead and several other injured. Eight people are reported dead in Karachi, while two in Multan and Rawalpindi.

The rains combined with the strong winds have led to collapsing roofs, land sliding and flooding in low lying areas of the country. Most of the casualties are electrocutions and collapsing roofs in Punjab and Sindh provinces.

According to the Pakistan Metrological department, the highest volume of rain recorded in Sindh is 25mm in Tharparkar’s Chachro district.

In Azad Jammu & Kashmir(AJK), heavy rains has created mayhem as people have been stuck on roads due to landslides that have blocked the Azad Kashmir to Rawalpindi travel route.

A westerly wave also persists over the northern areas of the country. Under the influence of these meteorological conditions, rain showers and thunderstorms are expected at various localities in Punjab, Islamabad, KPK, Sindh and Kashmir, while in scattered places in FATA, Gilgit-Baltistan and Baluchistan in the next 48 hours. Heavy downpour may trigger flash floods and landslides in susceptible areas of Punjab, Baluchistan, KPK, Gilgit-Baltistan and AJK.

Community World Service Asia is collecting information from different sources regarding the damages being caused by the rains and floods. Its emergency response teams are ready and will frame a response strategy, should there be any need of an emergency response.

Contacts:
Muhammad Fazal
Associate Director
Emergencies/DRR/Climate Change
Email: fazil.sardar@communitryworldservice.asia
Cell: +92 332 5586134

Palwashay Arbab
Head of Communications
Email: palwashay.arbab@communityworldservice.asia
Cell: +92 42 3586 5338

Sources:
www.tribune.com.pk
www.samaa.com
www.express.com.pk

Flash floods have swept away two passenger vehicles in the southeast area of the Khost province in Afghanistan. This has resulted in the death of 17 people, including women and children. As local officials announced on Tuesday, the torrential floods have also led to human casualties and financial losses in other areas of the province.

According to Shahdam Hilal, Interim Head of NDMA[1], Afghanistan, the floods have caused most damage in the Yaqubi and Haroonkhel districts located in the outskirts of Khost City.

The flooding had resulted due to a constant downpour of heavy rains in the province. A bus coming from across the border to the Khost capital was swept away in Haroonkhel area as it continued to rain.

As per latest reports released by UNOCHA[2], eight houses have been totally destroyed, while eighteen have been partially destroyed in the affected areas by the rains and subsequent flooding on Tuesday.

Community World Service Asia Response:

Community World Service Asia is closely monitoring the situation and if the need arises, will respond to the disaster accordingly.

Contacts:

Nejabat Khan Safi
Associate Director
Email: nejabat.safi@communitryworldservice.asia
Cell: +93 78 468 6250

Palwashay Arbab
Head of Communications
Email: palwashay.arbab@communityworldservice.asia
Cell: +92 42 3586 5338

Sources:
www.afghanistantimes.af


 

[1] National Disaster Management Authority
[2] United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs

Photo: http://www.samaa.tv/

At least 43 people, including eight security officials, have reportedly died after the westerly wave of monsoon rains entered the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) province of Pakistan late on Saturday night. The district of Chitral in this northern part of KPK has so far been the worst hit by the flash floods that followed soon after the rains.

As many as 17 people are reported missing in Ursoon Village of Chitral while many more have been injured as clouds of water burst into the area.

The continuing heavy rainfall destroyed around 30 houses in villages near the Pak-Afghan border.

Monsoon rains in Pakistan began late Saturday and continued to shower for hours, with hard-hitting rain covering the KPK province the most. KPK has been most affected by monsoon flooding in Pakistan in the recent years.

Pervez Khattak, Chief Minister of KPK Province, declared red alert in the flood hit areas of Chitral and has announced monetary compensation for the flood affected families.

Community World Service Asia is currently monitoring the situation. The organization’s emergency response team is ready and will start emergency relief activities if required.

Contacts:
Muhammad Fazal
Associate Director
Emergencies/DRR/Climate Change
Email: fazil.sardar@communitryworldservice.asia
Cell: +92 332 5586134

Palwashay Arbab
Head of Communications
Email: palwashay.arbab@communityworldservice.asia
Cell: +92 42 3586 5338

Sources:
www.tribune.com.pk
www.samaa.tv

Children waiting for their turn to be examined by the doctor

The government in Sindh is considered as the main provider of preventive care throughout the province and a major provider of curative services in most of its rural areas. Health services in the public sector are provided through a tiered referral system covering a  range from primary, to secondary and tertiary medical facilities. Primary care facilities include basic health units (BHUs), rural health centers (RHCs), government rural dispensaries (GRDs), mother and child health (MCH) centers and TB centers.

Unfortunately, most of these facilities lack the provision of a broader range of preventive and curative health services. The Taluka (Administrative division) and seventeen district headquarter hospitals in rural Sindh are responsible for providing medical care to the people of these areas. However, many are unable to benefit from these health care institutions due to the lack of technical assistance and the poor infrastructure.

The public health system in Sindh is unable to cope with the mounting health challenges that people are facing in the province. The province’s  district of Umerkot faces the highest national statistics on human and material health care shortages.

Community World Service Asia has been working in the health sector in Pakistan for the past thirty years. Through this experience, the organization has learnt that project interventions must work towards strengthening the existing government structures regardless of its weaknesses. This approach results in a more  sustainable impact instead of working in isolation or parallelly to the system.

Based on a recent rapid assessment carried out by Community World Service Asia, development of  three RHCs in villages Nabi ser, Dhoror Naro and Hyder Farm were proposed and approved. These RHCs aim to benefit a combined population of around 98,341.

To ensure long-term sustainability, the project’s plan is to work in close coordination with the government health department thus aiming to bridge the gaps in services such as provision of human and material resources. This includes working closely with female medical officers and para-medical staff, provision of essential medical supplies/equipment, necessary maintenance and repair of existing medical facilities as most of them have been damaged due to the floods that hit the province  in years 2010 and 2013. Through this project, preventive and curative services will be developed, as well as  the capacity of the government health staff will be enhanced.

In Umerkot, three RHUs in Hyderfarm Taluka Umerkot, Nabisar Taluka Kunri and town committee Dhoronaro have already become operational providing curative and preventive health services to the communities. At the initial stage, the infrastructure of the dilapidated RHCs was worked upon and these units were provided essential equipment required to cater to the health needs of the community. In the health facilities located at Hyderfarm and Nabisar, an outdoor patient departments (OPDs) providing free consultations and essential medicines to patients has also been set up. Additionally, labour rooms have been made operational at all the three health facilities. Medical services are provided by health staff including female medical officers, lady health visitors (LHVs), medical technicians and social mobilizers at these facilities.

These health services are focusing on the reproductive health of women of child-bearing age. Disease Early Warning System (DEWS) and Health Information System (HIS) have also been established at both the health facilities. Information from these centres is regularly shared with the district government and Community World Service Asia’s head offices.

  • 44,341 community members have received preventive and curative healthcare
  • 16,802 patients are provided with general out-patient department (OPD) care
  • 2,184 pregnant women received Antenatal check-ups
  • 560 postnatal check-ups conducted
  • 501 community members practising child spacing
  • 21 Deliveries facilitated
  • 34 delivery kits provided for safer deliveries made at home
  • Labour and Consultations rooms repaired 3 hospitals
  • Six health committees formed (3 for men and 3 for women)
  • District health advocacy forum established
  • Established DEWS and HIS in two health facilities
  • 24,294 individuals participated in health education sessions
  • 4,379 women and children assessed for malnutrition
  • 16,802 patients received free of cost essential medications
  • Proper referral system setup for complicated cases