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Ejaz’s story: A young boy remains hopeful in the aftermath of Pakistan floods

Pakistan flood crisis, one year on

Children and families continue to cope – and rebuild their lives – a year after devastating monsoon floods struck Pakistan. This is one in a series of stories on their situation, one year on.

By Adnan Raja

SINDH PROVINCE, Pakistan, 28 July 2011 – Ejaz Najum, 12, was living in Karampur, in the northern part of Sindh Province, when floods ravaged his entire village and surrounding communities in late July 2010. Across Pakistan, the massive floods inundated farms, schools and health facilities, and disrupted basic social services, from the Himalayas to the Arabian Sea.

VIDEO: July 2011 - UNICEF presents the poignant story of Ejaz, 12, a boy from Sindh Province whose family lost everything in the devastating floods that struck Pakistan from July through September 2010. Filmmaker and producer: James Longley.  Watch in RealPlayer


Having lost their home and all their belongings, Ejaz and his family were left with no choice but to move to the Selani relief camp, run by a non-governmental organization in Sukkur City. Life at the camp was extremely difficult, but at least they had access to shelter, basic health care and nutrition, safe drinking water and sanitation.

© UNICEF video
Ejaz Najum, 12, was displaced from his home in Pakistan's Sindh Province, when floods ravaged the region in late July 2010.

Ejaz continued his education at a UNICEF-supported temporary learning centre at Selani. And while living at the camp, he was also blessed with a new sister, a singular source of joy for the boy and his family during a difficult period.

Daunting challenges

Documentary filmmaker James Longley, who has been nominated twice for an Academy Award, first visited and filmed Ejaz and his family last year, in the immediate aftermath of their displacement. He returned to Karampur earlier this month to see them again.

Mr. Longley found that the family’s situation remained bleak, and he has documented their poignant story in a short film (see above).

© UNICEF video
Villagers evacuate through floodwaters on a small boat in Sindh Province, Pakistan, during monsoon floods floods in 2010.

Despite the daunting challenges he faces, Ejaz maintains hope for the future. Today, he and his two brothers – Israar, 14, and Insaaf, 9 – are back attending school. “I will study and then I will build schools,” says Ejaz. “Education changes everything. I want Pakistan to be the best country.”

Journey of recovery

While his family is among the poorest of the poor, Ejaz’s story is similar to the experiences of more than 3.9 million children who were severely affected by the floods that struck Pakistan from July through September 2010. The total number of people directly affected by the floods was estimated at over 18 million.

One year later, the situation remains critical for millions who are still struggling to rebuild their livelihoods and communities. UNICEF is committed to improving the lives of all flood-affected children and families in Pakistan, especially the most vulnerable, on their long journey of recovery and hope.



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