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It is really cold in slums 

01 Januarie 2011 01:18:44

It is really cold in slums

Sohail Rashid

ISLAMABAD, December 31, 2010: The current wave of cold is affecting almost everyone, but its real harshness can be seen in slums of the capital where families are living without any proper shelter to keep themselves safe from vagaries of harsh weather conditions.

During cold nights when all of us sit close to heaters munching dry fruits, the gypsy families shiver in their makeshift huts where cold air makes its way through holes in the walls.

Winter, couple with rain, brings misery for those living in slums of sectors I-10 and I-11 every year. They have no health facilities and their children suffer from various diseases caused by freezing cold weather.

Shabbir Ahmad lives in a slum of Sector I-11 where there is no facility to keep his children safe from cold. “My little son is suffering from pneumonia, while two daughters have high-grade fever. Though we try our level best to avoid cold, but we remain vulnerable as we have only a piece of cloth as a door and a tent as walls in our makeshift house,” he said while talking to INFN.

“The thought of more rain frightens me as it will bring more troubles for us. Whenever it rains, it ruins our huts. Cold air makes its way in our house from every side and it becomes difficult to survive in freezing cold,” said another slum-dweller Shamim Khan. He said that they direly need medical facilities in their area.

Ikram Bibi lives in a small cabin in a slum of Sector I-10. Her younger son Nafees was building a separate hut for himself when INFN visited there. “I am preparing this small hut where only I will sleep at night. I will plug all holes in it for sound sleep at night,” he said, without knowing that no matter how hard he tries it will not save him from cold.

“During cold nights, when people even don’t let their pets in the open, it is really painful that human beings are living in such adverse conditions in the capital of Pakistan,” said Riasat Alvi, a human rights activist.