In some communities women, children and elderly have been left to fend for themselves. They hold on to the hope that their only source of wealth – the cattle – can survive the dry season. If not, the devastation can be too much to bear.
“One man lost 500 head of cattle last year,” said Gul Khatoon, “When he saw how many were dying, he fell over and died too.”
“Our lives were passing joyfully, we used to live in joint family system. All of my children are married. All, but one, of them migrated to different cities after drought. The majority of our goats have died due to unavailability of fodder. There has been no rain in our area. All our agriculture lands are barren now. We used to grow different vegetables. My youngest son still goes to the fields with the hope that it might rain and good days may return.”
The famine, water crisis, starvation due to drought, has had severe consequences and destabilized communities. These long dry spells have affected around 1.9 million people, drying water resources such as wells and ponds.
Gul says: “The drought destroyed everything. There was nothing for my cattle to eat and from my 400 goats only 20 now remain. Wells have dried up, there is no water for drinking. My son brings water from other villages. All families from our village have migrated, but I can never leave my house! This is my home and this is where my husband is buried.”
People are in dire need of humanitarian assistance. “We don’t have any food to eat and no means of income as our cattle has died due to availability of water”, said Gul Khatoon.
She wishes to go back in time to her life as it was before, when she used to spend her days in field, farming fruits and vegetables, a time when water was not a scarce commodity. “Our life wasn’t perfect,” she says. “But we used to sleep with full bellies and peaceful minds. Now, I’m up all night worrying about how we are going to survive tomorrow, and in the morning thinking about how we are going to end our day.”
Islamic Relief came to the rescue of Gul Khatoon and other people from these drought stricken communities by providing an immediate response to fulfil the most basic and urgent needs.
To help restart the livelihoods and fulfil the nutritional needs of the families, Islamic Relief restocked poultry. Gul Khatoon and her son were provided with 10 hens, poultry feed and orientated on poultry management.
Gul Khatoon’s is one of countless families in Balochistan who suffer from food and water insecurity and poverty as a result of the drought.