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The story of Nisar Pitafi - beneficiary in Pakistan

31. July 2017 -
In 2017 arche noVa celebrates its 25th birthday. For a quarter of a century we have been committed to humanitarian aid and development cooperation. What's behind it? In the course of the year, we present 25 people whose stories are an example of our work.

"It was terrible when the flood came" - Nisar Pitafi from the village of Ali Nawaz Pitafi in the Pakistani province of Sindh cannot forget the disaster, no matter how long ago it was. The catastrophe has engraved deeply into his memory.

"Nothing and no one was sure, neither humans nor animals, neither dwellings, nor mosques and temples. Everything sank in the water masses." The Sindh region in the southeast of Pakistan is one of the poorest in the country. People are working as small-scale farmers and depend on the weather conditions. Rainfall is rare. Only grains, chilli, sugar cane and cotton grow along the irrigated canals, which are only irregularly filled. But one of the biggest problems is that the area is increasingly afflicted by extreme weather events. Sometimes there are droughts, sometimes flooding.

The region has experienced the last and until then the worst flood in 2011. Entire areas sank. The water cut off many villages including the village where Nisar Pitafi lives from the rest of the country. "In the first two weeks we were completely helpless," Nisar Pitafi remembers. The people were waiting on the higher located access roads to their settlements. It took a long time for the first emergency helpers to arrive and even longer until the water slowly moved back. When Nisar Pitafi and the others returned to their village, they were shocked. "The sight was incredible, everything was swept away," Nisar Pitafi reports. "The rebuilding started slowly". In doing so the village and many others in the region were supported by arche noVa.

Since 2011, arche noVa has been working in the districts of Badin and Mirpur Khas. First of all, our local team provided the urgently needed emergency aid, after which the reconstruction started. From the start, we also focused on disaster preparedness. "As a community, we could not do anything at the time during the flood, we were simply not prepared for such an event," says Nisar Pitafi. This is going to be different at the next flood.

That is why Nisar Pitafi is active in the newly founded Disaster Management Committee of his village. In the entire project area, arche noVa has promoted the development of this self-help structure. Now all committees are well networked, so that in the event of a disaster the early warning system works and the people are also able to help each other. Nisar Pitafi has been the Chairman of the Local Support Organization since 2013, in which 208 municipalities are organized and exchange regularly for disaster preparedness. He brings his newly acquired knowledge and experience to the benefit of all.

Nisar Pitafi is sure: "We have made a lot of efforts and preparations - I think now we are well organized and in a much better position to overcome the next crisis."