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Family's plight exposes cracks in aid

By Sara Sidner, CNN
The family of great-grandfather Busar Jatoi, pictured, rescued him in the floods.
The family of great-grandfather Busar Jatoi, pictured, rescued him in the floods.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • In nearly three weeks flood took away family's homes and livestock, covered their land
  • The floods have affected 20 million people, government says

Sindh Province, Pakistan (CNN) -- Great-grandfather Busar Jatoi is surprised he is still alive. His relatives dragged his old and ailing body through rising floodwaters in Pakistan's Sindh province to save him.

"I am a 100-years-old. I reached 100!" Jatoi boomed with pride. But he also lived to see everything he has worked for in life disappear under the swirling brown water of the Indus river.

"In the water we lost all our things," Jatoi said, adding, "The government is mother and father. It should do good, but we are here with our children wracked with hunger."

The Pakistani government says it is reacting responsibly and doing all it can to provide rescue and relief.

It is a Herculean task, if government figures are correct: The floods have affected 20 million people.

Are you affected by the flooding? Share your story

The Jatoi family is one of many who have slipped through what seem to be huge cracks in the aid effort.

"We rescued ourselves," said Kuda Dino Jatoi said. Finding no shelter available, "we forced our way into the school," he said." "It was closed and empty."

Video: Pakistan's plea for aid
Chart: Aid for Pakistan
Pakistan's flood-affected areas
Gallery: Pakistan's flood chaos
RELATED TOPICS
  • Pakistan

All 25-plus members of the family have been here ever since.

It's been nearly three weeks since the flood took away their homes and livestock and covered their land.

Their problems are multiplying. The heat and lack of sanitation has the place swarming with flies. The children are covered in them. The mothers in the group are beside themselves with anxiety.

"Look at her," Mussamat Islam Jatoi, said while holding her two-month-old baby girl covered with sores. "She is already dead," 20-year-old relative Arbab Jatoi chimes in matter-of-factly. No one disputes him.

Little Shehnela is lethargic and she rarely opens her kohl smeared eyes. No one knows what is wrong with her.

But everyone one knows what is wrong with Hurmat Jatoi, another of the group's mothers. She is pale and moves ever so carefully.

"I am sick because I am always thinking about my little girl." Her sickness is grief. Her two-year-old daughter was the only family member who did not survive the raging floodwaters.

"I have no more children. She was the only one," she said.

The depth of suffering in this one Pakistani family cannot be adequately described in words. But one look at their faces and you can almost feel it. "Surviving is very hard," Hurmat Jatoi said before shuffling back to her cot to continue mourning.

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