UN-Habitat, the German manufacturer BASF and the government of Japan this week put a smile on the face of the villagers of Gul Mohammad Gandhro near Thatta, Sindh Province of Pakistan who were victims of the floods of 2010 by resettling them..
Gul Mohammad Gandhro went entirely under water during the 2010 floods. Fishing, the primary source of income for the community, made it impossible for them to move far away from the river-banks. Some 113 families lost their homes and belongings and migrated to a nearby hill that was protected from the rising waters. Funding was desperately needed in order to make their conditions liveable.
Soon after the floods, UN-Habitat started nationwide assessments of the affected areas and identified the entire village of Gul Mohammad Gandhro as extremely vulnerable and in need of immediate aid. The government owned hill, where the community had migrated, was the most feasible location for them. After assessment and identification, UN-Habitat approached the government of Pakistan for their support, which turned out to be a very important step towards the resettlement of the community. The Government of Pakistan gave the six acres of land to the flood affected people to be transferred in their names.
The project was funded through the Government of Japan under the 'Pakistan Settlements Flood Recovery Project', and BASF Global Construction Chemicals Division (through BASF Social Foundation), Ludwigshafen, Germany. Work commenced in February 2011 for a model village to be created with 113 shelters, 46 latrines, a water storage tank and a community space. In addition, landscaping, tree plantation, a children's area, constructed wetlands, and a veranda for vulnerable people were also being developed.
28th May 2012, marked a very important moment in the lives of the people of Gul Mohammad Gandhro. Atop their new hill, in a big ceremony celebrated with drums and dances, representatives from the Government of Japan, BASF, UN-Habitat and the Government of Pakistan handed over land documents to the beneficiaries. Now nearing completion, the shelters and other facilities are being monitored for quality and through community participation are expected to finish by June 15th 2012.
The resettlement of the village Gul Mohammad Gandhro has been a huge success of the collaborative efforts of the government, the donors and the United Nations. As the new monsoon rains approach, the community will be protected, functional and productive not only in the year 2012 but for years to come.