Drinking Water and Schools: Reconstruction Aid for Pakistan
4 November 2010
Photos: Marcus Nüsser
In response to the flood disaster in Pakistan, Heidelberg University’s South Asia Institute (SAI) is planning long-term aid projects in the mountain regions in the north of the country. “So far, aid has concentrated on the lowlands,” says the Director of SAI, Prof. Dr. Marcus Nüsser, after a stay of several weeks in Pakistan. “The mountain areas have been very much neglected by the central government. But there too, the floods have caused devastating damage.” After a donation campaign in September, the SAI transported food supplies to the Malakand area of north-western Pakistan to provide initial flood relief to five villages there. Now the intention is to use the assistance coming from Heidelberg to help the northern province of Gilgit-Baltistan by re-securing its drinking-water supply and rebuilding a school.
The food campaign in Malakand brought 750 packages of staple provisions to the villages there and initial relief for 6,000 people. Each of these 41-kilo packages was designed to aid a family of eight and contained flour, sugar, rice, lentils, oil and tea. Also involved in the campaign was the current holder of the Allama Iqbal Professorial Fellowship at the South Asia Institute, Prof. Sayed Wiqar Ali Shah from Pakistan. The scientist took advantage of a trip home to help purchase and distribute the provisions. He also made on-the-spot inquiries to ascertain where help was needed most urgently.
After this initial supply of goods, the South Asia Institute is now planning assistance campaigns in the northern province of Gilgit-Baltistan. According to Prof. Nüsser, little in the way of flood relief has found its way to this region. The 70,000 citizens of the town of Gilgit were without electricity for a month. Also, roads were totally impassable for almost two months and supplies from outside could not get through. The SAI intends to support the reconstruction of schools and the drinking-water supply system in the region. Piping has already been transported to one village on the north side of Nanga Parbat where a hillside completely collapsed. Now new water pipes can be laid. “The only school in the village collapsed after the rains,” reports Prof. Nüsser, who spent seven weeks in Pakistan in August and September. “The plan is to rebuild it, but at a different, safer location.”
In its flood relief efforts the SAI is working with Nanga Parbat Foundation, a local non-governmental organisation, because, as Prof. Nüsser points out, “the planning and organisation of such aid measures is only possible via the agency of a locally active organisation that the population trusts and accepts.” He has known the head of the Nanga Parbat Foundation, Ghulam Nabi, very well since 1993.
For more information, go to www.sai.uni-heidelberg.de .
If you want to support these aid projects, please send your donation to
Vereinigung der Förderer des Südasien-Instituts e.V.
reference: Fluthilfe Pakistan
Sparkasse Heidelberg (sorting code: 672 500 20)
Account number: 1300695
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Digital pictures are available from the Press Office.
Prof. Dr. Marcus Nüsser
South Asia Institute
phone: +49 6221 548922
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