They escaped with their lives but wait for work, day after day, in vain.
For the labourers who gather in the city of Mingora, any hope of employment was washed away by the floods that devastated the Swat Valley. And as time goes on, their plight has become increasingly desperate.
Unemployed for 22 days, Yunas Khan said: “We used to load bags of cement onto trucks but since the rains started, we have had no work.”
No work means no cash and often no food. But still they keep trying.
“We come here very early in the morning and wait here until 10.30 or 11 o’clock but no-one comes to hire us. When we go home, we have to eat yesterday’s dry bread. Sometimes we only eat on alternate days,” said another unemployed labourer, Malang Jan.
Many displaced people have lost the livestock that helped them eke out a living. Floods have ruined crops on a massive scale and inflicted widespread
damage to infrastructure.
Reconstruction will be long and expensive. The economic costs of the floods are set to run into billions of euros.
But fears about the impact of this disaster on Pakistan’s already fragile economy will do nothing to encourage investors. The IMF has warned the floods will cause major economic harm.