FAO in Pakistan

Rising Above the Flood Waters

Under the Support for the Recovery of Agriculture Based Livelihoods of Vulnerable Farmers Affected by 2012 Floods of Sindh and Balochistan Provinces in Pakistan Project, FAO helps a community build a safe haven from floods

The only time 40 year old Shabira (on the far right in the photograph) had left her village of Muhammad Summaro in Mubarak Pur Union Council, Jacobabad District of Sindh was during the 2012 floods. “The water kept rising and rising, so we grabbed our children and some of the most important possessions, and fled,” says the woman. At first, the villagers moved to the nearby road which was on a higher grown than their homes. But day after day, the water remained in the fields, and the community finally moved to the nearby towns of Quetta and Shikarpoor to stay with their relatives until the floods subsided.

Just as their neighbors, Shabira’s family could not afford to take their cattle and chicken along, and by the time they returned to the village, Shabira found all their animals dead from starvation and disease.

To reduce the impact of future floods on the community, FAO, with funding from DFID, worked with the village to build a raised platform where the villagers can stay until the floods are over. The five-feet high platform is taller than the level of 2010 floods, which were the highest floods ever recorded in the area. The platform includes sheltered areas for people, cattle and storage for food and animal fodder.  The edges of the platform were reinforced with concrete and bricks, to ensure that the floods do not erode it.  The villagers also planted trees on the platform to provide additional shade and bind the soil. FAO anticipates, that this approach will be replicated by other villages over time, so that communities don’t have to abandon their homes and possessions each time floods hit them.

“Now that our village has built a raised platform with FAO support, we will never have to leave our home or cattle again,” says Shabira. By preserving the lives of their livestock, the community will avoid up to US$60,000 in losses. Savings also include protected grains and other possessions.