The educational infrastructure in the Swat Valley was not at its best in August 2010, when the floods led to additional damages at many schools. Many school buildings cannot be used at all, while others are too small for all the students. But they want to learn – that’s why, right now, they are sitting very close to each other in overcrowded rooms or outside the school buildings – even during the winter season.
Malteser International is rehabilitating a total of four schools in the Swat district following the UN’s child-friendly school concept. The schools will be reconstructed as earthquake- and flood-resistant buildings. The new social infrastructure will include a safe drinking water supply system and adequate sanitation facilities for the students and their teachers, as well as improved access to people with handicaps.
It was the worst flooding since recordkeeping in today’s Pakistan began: In July and August 2010, massive monsoon rainfall made the rivers in Pakistan swell rapidly. In the north of the country, flash floods of the mountain rivers washed away everything that was built or stored too close to the river beds: bridges and roads, houses and belongings. Mud- and landslides blocked roads and the communication infrastructure was destroyed in many locations.
In the south of Pakistan, the run-off from rainfall in the mountainous north led to a wave along the Indus River which flooded vast parts of the lowland for several months, displacing hundreds of thousands people from their homesteads. Everywhere in the affected areas, people lost their income as fields were covered with mud, most of the harvest was destroyed and livestock perished. More than 20 million people were affected by the floods; 1,750 people died.
The overall damage can only roughly be estimated and is unimaginably high. The reconstruction efforts will take several years – as will Malteser International’s commitment for relief activities. Our overall aim is to “build back better”: to assist the communities in improving their living conditions to an even higher level than that prior to the flood, while, at the same time, raising their resilience towards future incidents – whether they are natural or man-made disasters.
Malteser International has been working in Pakistan since the earthquake of October 2005. Its main areas of intervention have been and will remain in the sectors of health and disaster preparedness. With their long-term presence in the country, Malteser International’s teams will also be able to react quickly after new emergency situations.
Project Data Duration: Since November 2010 Financing: Deutsche Bank Stiftung, Wacker, Liebherr, Germany’s Relief Coalition, Malteser International Partner: Lasoona
Dr. Shumaila Akhbar, medical doctor in the Swat Distrikt with a focus on maternal and child health.