“Our house was flooded and we had nothing to eat for a week, we have not received any support from anyone yet,” said Abida, a Pakistani mother of two who had just arrived seeking medical care for her children at International Medical Corps’ health clinic in Punjab Province.
Like many Pakistanis affected by the floods, the emotional impact of this disaster had visibly taken its toll on the 20-year-old. As psychosocial support and Psychological First Aid is an integral part of all of International Medical Corps’ emergency health programs, our psychologist was available to offer Abida psychosocial support sessions to help her deal with her stress.
Situated on the banks of the Chenab River, Abida’s agricultural community of Jalal Pur Khaki was inundated by floodwaters, damaging homes and crops and destroying the livelihoods of most residents. Immediately following the floods, International Medical Corps deployed local teams to provide health services and psychosocial support in the hardest hit areas. To date, we have 93 mobile and static medical teams offering services in the provinces of Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab – one was set up in Jala Pur Khaki to support this devastated community.
Like most of her neighbors, Abida’s house was damaged by floods and is still surrounded by floodwater. Since her husband, an agricultural worker, is unemployed with no source of income due to flood-destroyed crops, the family does not have the resources to repair their home. International Medical Corps provided Abida’s family with medical care and family and individual counseling sessions. Our psychologist also taught Abida relaxation techniques to deal with her enormous stress.
“You are the first person I met who has listened to me and taken interest in my problems, I am feeling much more relaxed after talking to you and I am very thankful to you,” said Abida following her session.
To date, International Medical Corps has provided psychosocial support sessions to over 7,000 Pakistanis affected by the floods. We have been operating in Pakistan since 1984, providing primary health care services and water/sanitation facilities to displaced Pakistanis as well as to Afghan refugees in the frontier areas.