Pakistan Boat People
Independent Films, Social Responsibility Movies, Travel
The Jam have spent most of their lives living in riverboats on the Indus, desperately in need of assistance but unable to access Pakistan government support programs.
Last year's devastating floods exacerbated the parlous situation of the small Jam community of about 100 families (1,000 people) in southern Punjab province and many of them, now want to adapt their riverine way of life, construct proper homes and receive state aid to help them rebuild their lives.
SOUNDBITE (Saraiki) Hassina Mai, Ashiq’s wife, Jam Flood Victim:
“Floods swept away all our belongings. When the floods hit the area my husband was not at home. I managed to rescue my children. Water took away our house and belongings.”
Ashiq was away at the time helping others. He came back to nothing.
SOUNDBITE (Saraiki) Ashiq Hussain, Jam Flood Victim:
“The floods were destructive. I am now living on my brother’s boat.”The United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) discovered the Jams by chance when assessing the needs of affected communities.”
Unable to gain access to the government aid programme for flood victims for lack of documentation, the Jam boat people have struggled to recover. When UNHCR heard about their need, the agency distributed winter aid, including quilts, blankets, shawls, sweaters and hygiene kits for each family.
SOUNDBITE (English) Tehmina Roohi, Field Coordinator, UNHCR:
“UNHCR is the first organization that reached them with its winter pack, and they are very glad to receive those packs.”
The Jam have lived in Punjab's Dera Ghazi Khan district for decades. They survived through fishing, basket weaving and agriculture. In recent years, they have built shelters on the riverbank to accommodate their growing population, but they never registered. When they were doing well, there seemed no need to.
They have rebuilt some of their simple riverbank homes, but their needs remain significant and include access to safe drinking water, health and sanitation facilities, food, livelihood opportunities and schooling for the children.
SOUNDBITE (Saraiki) Asqui, Jam Flood Victim:
“My dear brother we need brick houses, a school, mosque, prayer leader, school teachers, latrines, and money. We need basic facilities we want jobs.”
UNHCR is carrying out advocacy for the protection of their rights with the government and other sister UN agencies.
Year of Production: 2011
Length: 3:30 mins
Pakistan Boat People by DiplomaticallyIncorrect is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike 3.0 License.
- Muhamed Sacirbey UNTV-UNHCR
- Susan Sacirbey