Just a few plastic bags to start life again – Metro

The long walk: Kashmiri women lost their homes in the earthquake (GOAL)

The long walk: Kashmiri women lost their homes in the earthquake (GOAL)

Before the quake, Bagh district was home to almost 500,000 people. Then three out of four homes were destroyed. GOAL was the first NGO into the area, and is working to feed and shelter 10,000 families – almost 100,000 people – mostly at altitudes of 1,500m and higher.

Sorat Ahmed met us on the road from her village of Tengyat, at 1,370m in the Himalayan foothills. Alongside her stood her four daughters, aged from seven to nineteen, with a few plastic bags of clothes and utensils perched on their heads for the long walk ahead.

With the first layers of what will be up to 180cm of snow already on the fields, she is taking her daughters downhill.

The quake destroyed every house in her village, and killed four out of every ten people living there. One of those killed was her husband. The family have had no reliable water since the disaster. The area’s wells and streams have been blocked, covered or obliterated and Sorat has had to send two of her daughters on a 20km round trip every day to get fresh water for drinking and cooking.

Now with winter here, the trek is proving too much. We told her we were getting ready to distribute shelter materials to her village.

We asked her to see her future back up the mountain rather than downhill. To look one way rather than the other. Either way, it doesn’t look good to Sorat.

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