Suffice it to Ahmed Deen, Pakistan:
400 inhabitants of Basti Ahmed Din, surrounded by a small Pakistani village flooded by water, face hunger and disease after torrential monsoon rains. But he refused the pleas to leave. Residents told AFP that going to a relief camp would mean that the women of the village would mix with men outside their families and that it would be a violation of their “honor”.
Basti Ahmad Din’s wives receive nothing.
When 17-year-old Shireen Bibi was asked if she would like to go to the camp safely on the mainland, she replied: “It is up to the village elders to decide.
Monsoon rains attributed to climate change left much of Pakistan underwater this summer, with villagers like Basti Ahmad Din grappling with the destruction of their homes and livelihoods.
More than half of Basti Ahmed Din’s 90 homes, located in the Rojan region of Punjab province, have been destroyed.
The cotton crop that once surrounded the village now rots in flooded fields when it rains in June, and the dirt road once connected to the nearest village is three meters underwater.
Empty wooden boats are the only way for villagers to buy food and supplies.
They are also expensive, their operators charge much higher rates than usual.
Basti Ahmed Din’s families have an alarming amount of food and have decided to gather and ration leftover wheat and cereals after the rains.
Several volunteers who came to the village to deliver the aid package pleaded with the residents to seek safety, to no avail.
Muhammad Amir, resident of Basti Ahmed Din, said: “We are Baluchi. The Baluchi do not allow their wives to go out, ”he said, referring to the dominant ethnic group in the village.
“The Baluchi would rather starve and do it than let their families go out.”
In many parts of conservative and deeply patriarchal Pakistan, women live under a rigid so-called honor system.
This severely limits their freedom of movement and their interactions – if at all – with men outside their family.
Women can also be killed by negotiating with men to bring them “shame” or by marrying someone they have chosen over their family.
And in times of calamity such as floods in Pakistan, this code can completely exclude women and girls from basic needs such as food and medical care.
Instead of bringing their families there, Basti Ahmed Din residents take the expensive boat once a week to the nearest relief camp for aid and supplies.
The village elders – all men – say it is acceptable for only women to leave in “emergency” situations, such as in poor health.
Natural disasters don’t matter, and an elder named Murid Hussain said they weren’t evacuated during the last devastating flood in 2010.
“We hadn’t left our village at that time,” he told AFP.
“We don’t allow our women to go out. They cannot stay in these camps. It is an honor.”
(Except for the title, this story was not edited by the NDTV staff and is posted by a syndicated feed.)