Fotostrecke

Photo Gallery: Life After the Flood

Foto: Hasnain Kazim

Photo Essay The Faces of Pakistan's Catastrophe

The floods destroyed their lives. Entire villages were swept away, fields and crops were destroyed and millions no longer have any way of making a living. SPIEGEL ONLINE's Pakistan correspondent Hasnain Kazim interviewed survivors of the tragedy and documented their stories in photos.

"If I could only go home!" says Hemeeda. The 70-year-old woman has seen a lot in her life, but currently she's being provided with medical care in a school run by a Pakistani workers welfare association in Muzaffagarh in the southern Punjab province. Like many of the flood victims, she is suffering from stomach problems.

"Go home?" her son Sajjad, who is living in one of the school's classrooms with his family, asks. "It doesn't exist anymore."

The flooding in Pakistan has affected a total of around 20 million people. Many are threatened by hunger and an estimated 800,000 people are believed to still be cut off from emergency relief aid altogether. At least 5 million have lost their homes. The need for emergency shelter is enormous and the camps that have been set up by relief organizations, the government and the military aren't enough to meet the need. Hundreds of thousands of people have been living on the streets for weeks, in many cases building makeshift accommodations with the furniture and debris left behind in the flooding.

Refugees are reporting in some cases that they are already getting kicked out of shelters because the schools accommodating them are about to go back into session as the summer holidays wind to a close. "Who would think they could just start school back and throw us out on the streets," curses Hajra, a young woman with a child in her hands. "But they probably can do it."

For many, a shock is in store when they return to their villages. Many towns and villages along the Indus River and its tributaries have been devastated or destroyed altogether. In northern and central Pakistan, the water levels may have retreated, but they have also left behind a muddy landscape filled with destruction. Many people haven't had the courage yet to return and get started rebuilding their lives.

"At least we have something to eat and medicine here in the camp," says Hajra.

In a photo essay by SPIEGEL ONLINE's Pakistan correspondent, Hasnain Kazim, the victims of the worst flooding seen in the country in decades tell their stories.

Fotostrecke

Photo Gallery: Life After the Flood

Foto: Hasnain Kazim
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