How the Pakistan floods affected women

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Glyn Duke, Head of supporter care

If you've never left your home, and your home gets washed away, how do you cope?

Today I talked to Charmaine, the child sponsorship manage from Pakistan. In the communities hit hardest by the floods, the last six months have been all about responding to the emergency. That hasn't just meant delivering the supplies that were so generously provided by ActionAid supporters - it's involved all sorts of complexities, and especially helping women face the terrible affects of the disaster.

For women who had spent most of their lives indoors, within the confines of their homes (especially in rural areas where women only go out for farm labour), sudden exposure to the outside world was not only confusing, it was scary. Hunger, disease, and loss of shelter and work affected women and girls the most due to their extreme vulnerability.

Charmaine met Salma, a mother of two, whose house had been washed away. There was a food point set up by the government nearby, but Salma had never left the house before - she simply didn't have the confidence to go and ask for food.

That was where ActionAid were able to help - Salma attended women's meetings we organised, and we also spoke to her husband and father-in-law, to help them understand the situation. As a result, she gained the simple skills she needed to claim basic supplies - food, plastic sheeting, household items - that her small children needed to stay safe in the aftermath of the floods.