Waheed's Tale of Resilience: Rebuilding Lives After the 2022 Floods in Pakistan

February 26, 2024

The 2022 floods in Pakistan brought devastation to countless communities, leaving behind destruction and despair. Among those affected was Waheed Ali, a resident of Malook Maachhi, who found himself facing unprecedented challenges in the wake of the disaster.

"In our toughest times, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Islamic Relief Pakistan (IRP) were there for us," shares Waheed, reflecting on the support received during the most challenging days. "Their help, along with the generosity of the Government of Japan, kept us going."

Waheed's story reflects the struggles faced by the residents of Malook Maachhi. Forced to leave behind everything they owned, they returned to find their village in ruins, their homes reduced to temporary shelters. With no source of income and limited access to basic necessities, Waheed and his children faced nights of hunger and darkness.

“When we returned to the village, there was nothing left of our home. Everything we owned was washed away,” recalls Waheed. “We had nothing to fall back on. Our kids went to bed hungry for days.”

The situation worsened as stagnant waters prevented agricultural activities and triggered outbreaks of waterborne diseases, particularly affecting women and children in the village. Moreover, the absence of electricity raised serious safety concerns, especially for vulnerable segments of the population whose mobility was severely restricted after dark due to fear of snake bites. 

Amidst the despair, a ray of hope emerged through the collaborative efforts of UNDP, IRP, and the Government of Japan. The provision of hygiene kits ensured that families like Waheed's could maintain basic sanitation. Clean water became accessible through the distribution of water filtration systems, easing the burden on women like Waheed's wife, who tirelessly provided for their families.

The most significant change came with the installation of solar panels and batteries, illuminating homes and safeguarding against nighttime dangers. For Waheed's family, this meant more than just light; it offered his children the chance to study after sunset, breaking the cycle of darkness that had affected their lives. Additionally, it spared Waheed and his wife the need to travel long distances for water. They installed a solar pump to meet their water needs, ensuring cleanliness for their livestock and farm.

These collaborative efforts between UNDP Pakistan, Islamic Relief, and the Government of Japan, not only met immediate relief needs but also rekindled the human spirit in Malook Maachhi.  Empowered by access to clean water, improved hygiene, and sustainable energy, Waheed and his fellow villagers are rebuilding their lives with renewed hope and determination. 

Story by: Anum Feroz, Project Preparation & Resource Mobilization Officer, Floods Recovery Programme, UNDP Pakistan
Photos: Talha Usman (Islamic Relief Pakistan) and Shuja Hakim (UNDP Pakistan)