On October 8, 2005, Pakistan experienced the worst earthquake in its history. Registering 7.6 on the Richter scale, the quake devastated Pakistan’s Northwest Frontier Province. Thousands died and millions were left homeless.
Mudslides and torrential rains following the earthquake destroyed farmlands and livestock, especially in the districts of Abbottabad and Mansehra, where CHF is now working.
“These mountainous areas were really badly affected by the earthquake. But they are unique because major destruction there happened also after the quake,” explains Karim Alibhai, Regional Director for Asia. “The tremors made this mountainous land much more vulnerable. Once the rains came, mudslides wiped out their cattle and the terraces they use for farming.”
Even before the quake, the people living in mountainous areas of Abbottabad and Mansehra struggled to survive. Marginalized because of their remote location, the people here depended on subsistence terrace farming and their livestock to live. When the earthquake destroyed their livelihoods, they had nowhere to turn.
“Unlike many other areas affected by the earthquake, people here couldn’t move to camps. They are just so remote. And because of their location in the mountains, which is very difficult to access, they were the most underserved by the earthquake relief operations,” adds Alibhai.
With the generous support of The Sprott Foundation, CHF is helping bring livelihoods back to people living in Abbottabad and Mansehra. The most destitute households, primarily female-headed households, will be provided with goats and assisted with poultry production. Farmers’ livestock will be replenished and cattle houses will be built. Clean water for the communities will be restored, and farming tools lost in the mudslides and rains will be replaced.
As well, CHF will work with the communities to restore the land. Nurseries will be set up, trees will be planted and terraces reconstructed.
According to Alibhai, “Even before the earthquake, these were two of the poorest regions in Pakistan, further affected by environmental degradation and their geographic isolation. Our goal is to “build back better,” so that lives are not simply returned to normal, but are enhanced.”
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