Ashraf Khan had lived much of his 60 years of life in the village of Karay Deray in Orakzai Agency in Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), where he had a small landholding that his hardworking young son farmed to support the family.
Then, tragedy struck. Ashraf Khan’s son was killed. Old and bereft, the grieving father had to flee with his wife, daughter-in-law and two granddaughters to Hangu and find work as a wage labourer. But lack of education, age and a fractured leg due to a road accident made it difficult to make ends meet. He learned that their home had been destroyed in the fighting. Today, even as peace returns to Orakzai and the family is able to go back home, he remains worried about how they will rebuild their lives.
“We are living in abject poverty,” he says plainly. “I am always worried about my grandchildren. I am old and injured. It is very difficult for me to provide for them without asking others for help.”
Ashraf’s situation rendered him and his family eligible for assistance from the China South-South Cooperation Assistance Fund for the Recovery Project in FATA and Balochistan. This UNDP-supported initiative provides basic humanitarian assistance to 8,100 vulnerable families that were temporarily displaced by insecurity in FATA as they return to rebuild their homes.
Ashraf is delighted that this assistance includes construction tools to help rebuild his home. Insecurity and remoteness mean that it is hard to procure quality construction material and tools from the local markets in FATA. He is also relieved that the aid package fulfils basic needs, as he is concerned about the availability of food supplies for his granddaughters in the markets.
“I am thankful to the Government of China and UNDP Pakistan for giving us this aid package,” he says. “The construction tools will really help me when I return to my village in a few weeks and start rebuilding my house.”
Under a unique south-south partnership the People’s Republic of China has provided US$4 million to support vulnerable families in FATA and Pakistan’s Balochistan province. In addition to humanitarian assistance for 56,700 people affected by insecurity in FATA, the project is funding the refurbishment of schools that were damaged by the 2010–2011 flooding in Balochistan, benefiting 19,000 schoolchildren in 375 schools . The project was initiated in February 2018, and will continue for a period of four months.
China South-South Cooperation Assistance Fund for the Recovery Project in FATA and Balochistan