In Ansari’s village, families have lived off the land for generations however in recent years, as the climate has changed this has become increasingly difficult, making life a daily struggle for his isolated community. As the earth has warmed up, Ansari’s village has been unable to adapt quickly enough and children, parents, homes and livelihoods have become exposed to life-threatening and devastating floods and snow avalanches on a yearly basis.

We have been busy working with Ansari’s (pictured) community, helping them to adapt to the changing climate and reduce the risks of the natural disasters which affect their lives.

"My wife and I and our five children rely on the cultivation of our land and rearing a few animals. There are around 60 other families in our village: we are all poor and many families struggle. In recent years I have had to sell some of our sheep and goats to get by.”

“We lost land and crops due to avalanches and every spring, our fresh water supply was destroyed by flash-floods. Our irrigation canals were also often cut off by avalanches or contaminated by the floods, which meant that our crops suffered and we could not put food on our families plates. Often, we had to go without clean water for drinking or washing for weeks at a time, meaning that disease spread and many people became unwell. We had to spend what little money and time we had to fix these problems, which meant that we had nothing left for other important stuff.

Then Afghanaid came to our village and established a community-based Disaster Management Committee to help us to understand how climate change and disasters affect our lives and to find ways to reduce risks. In the first instance, Afghanaid helped us to build a reservoir and a wall to protect our water sources, and reconstructed our irrigation canals. They also built a road to connect our community to the closest market and hospital. Before, we had no road and we were always worried that if there was an emergency we would not be able to get people to the hospital in time. Now we are comfortable; we have easy access to the hospital and ambulances can reach us too.

 

Afghanaid ran training sessions to teach us how to prepare for and respond to the natural disasters which affect our village. They installed a loudspeaker system and taught us how to use it to alert the village in emergencies, and to evacuate people from the risky areas. Now, we can protect our children and animals, we can search for and rescue people in danger, and we can administer first aid if necessary. We are also now able reconstruct damaged houses and school buildings after a disaster strikes. Afghanaid also provided us with saplings to reinvigorate our damaged soil, as well as flood-resistant wheat and vegetable seeds, and trained us in improved farming techniques to ensure a better yield in the changing climate and during all seasons.

What’s great is that we now plan ahead; we don’t just wait for a disaster to happen. We discussed the issue of drought and have identified ways we can address this issues ourselves, and what our limitations are. This years’ drought has meant that there is currently no natural water source in the village, so we have distributed watering cans for people to make sure that their saplings do not dry out. We have also told the whole village to not waste water. As well as this, we are collecting small amounts of money from each of our pockets, so that we can pay for the construction of a small water pipe to bring the spring water to the bottom of the village.

With Afghanaid's help we have made big changes and feel much more confident about our future. I feel honoured to be a part of the committee which helped to achieve this and I know I am now capable of helping my community, reacting effectively in emergencies and finding solutions to problems if they do occur.

I am hopeful for my children's future because now they can happily and safely go to school, where they can carve out a better future for themselves. Now they have nutritious food to eat, and clean water to drink and wash with so they can grow up healthy and strong. I can see that my children are comfortable and happy and I make sure I explain to them the benefits of what we have learned from Afghanaid, so that they can grow up with this knowledge and continue to improve life in our village.”

We work with communities across the country to mitigate the impact of disasters and save lives when and where populations are most vulnerable.  Find out more.

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