Surviving the Flood: One Woman's Story

The water was nearly 25 feet high.

“It smashed everything; nothing was left,” said Khadija Agha, an Afghan refugee living in Pakistan whose home was destroyed in the floods. The only possessions she and her family were able to salvage were a few dresses and some pots.

They are a family of 13. She and her husband, Taaghan, have nine children, two of whom are under five years old. Their nephew and daughter-in-law live with them, as well.

Khadija’s family moved from Afghanistan to Pakistan when she was a young girl, 30 years ago.

“We left due to the war, when Russia invaded Afghanistan,” she explained.

They’d been living in the Azakhen refugee camp in Nowshera, Pakistan for nearly 15 years before the flooding, making a meager income of 4,000 Pakistani rupees ($47) a month from weaving carpets. In addition to caring for her children and doing the housework, Khadija works alongside her husband.

After the floods left them homeless, Khadija and her family travelled to Attock to stay with some of her relatives.

“We were all together, and we managed to reach Attock safely,” said Khadija.

Now, she and her family have moved into a rented home there and plan to live in the town permanently, though they have not yet found work. Right now, they are relying on help from their relatives and donations from Barakat.

“We have arranged for a house first, and now we will look for work, but we can only weave carpets. Barakat has helped us to arrange for our daily expenses. We will buy food and supplies with the money Barakat has given us,” she said.

Khadija and her husband also plan to send all their children to Barakat schools because Barakat will be providing them with free education. In their previous town, they could not afford to send their children to school.

“I’d heard about Barakat schools, and now, we will send our children to them,” said Khadija.

After seeing her home and livelihood torn to shreds, Khadija says that her greatest fear is quite simple: survival.

“I have a large family,” said Khadija. “We are all struggling hard just to survive.”

By: Lisa DeBenedictis

Written By: Lisa DeBenedictis