South Asia

Pakistan Indus flood diary - day two

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Media captionAleem Maqbool meets people re-building their homes

Over the course of this week, the BBC's Aleem Maqbool is following the path of the destruction caused by the Pakistani floods by travelling the length of the country on the mighty Indus river.

In the second instalment of his diary, he moves through Charsadda district after spending Monday travelling through the north-western Swat valley. He will finish his travels in the southern province of Sindh. Along the way he will see first-hand how local people have coped with the damage.


At least the waters have receded in Charsadda since we were last here.

We often visited the district when the crisis first struck. It was among the places where the initial monsoon downpours were at their heaviest, where huge swathes of land were submerged, and where many lives were lost.

Six weeks ago, the villagers of Sir Darriyya in Charsadda told us of a huge wave that had come through the whole area.

Then, Deedar Gul had described to us how he had watched helplessly as his two teenage daughters had been swept away. Three days later, several kilometres away, their bodies were recovered.

Today, we revisited the Gul family, and spoke to the girls' mother, Darsheda.

Image caption Niyyaz Muhammed says he has had no help from the government

"I might look like I'm walking and breathing," she told us. "But I am dead too. I have no idea what I am doing any more."

"Yes, my husband can try to rebuild parts of our house, but life has no taste since our girls were taken away."

Across the road from the Gul family compound, the house of Niyyaz Muhammed had almost completely disappeared when we last saw him and his children.

At the time, his land had not been firm enough to put up a makeshift tent. He has the tent now, but very little else. He showed us the few blankets and copies of the Koran he was able to save before the violent torrents came.

"You know, in the six weeks since you came here, we have had no help from any agencies," he says.

"We see them driving past this area without helping us. I've stood in the road to stop them and they have told me they would come back, but they never do."

Image caption Some Islamist groups with links to militants have set up medical treatment camps

The sheer number of families like who have seen their homes turned into nothing more than piles of rubble is staggering. While that remains the case, there are accusations that some groups are capitalising.

A drive into the countryside led us to where we were told we would find a relief camp set up by an organisation called Fallah Insaniat.

In a clearing, we found doctors seeing patients. But the people running the place, who were reluctant to show their faces on camera, were from the so called "welfare wing" of a banned Islamist group Jammat-ud-Dawwa, which itself is affiliated to a militant group.

"People say we're terrorists, but it's all lies," says Ubaid Ur Rehman from Fallah Insaniat. "They should judge us by what we do on the ground."

He talks of food distribution and construction work.

"Ask the people in this camp, if they like us," he says.

Of course, users of the camp, many of whom had lost everything, said they were grateful to the group.

But at a time when more than 20 million people across Pakistan are thought to be affected by the flooding, it should be no surprise that people are willing to accept help and hope from any quarter.

We've now driven south out of Khyber Pukhtunkhwa province, and past many more camps run by all kinds of national and international organisations. Last month the floods came the same way, and brought new destruction to the province of Punjab.