Pak woman feels 'embarrassed' burdening Jolie with her woes

Zainul, a resident of Mohib Banda village near the bank of the Kabul river in Nowshera district where 70 per cent of homes were destroyed or badly damaged by the floods, told Jolie: "How can I burden you with all the things we need? I feel embarrassed.”

Her husband Rehman Gul pointed to an old plastic fan buried in mud and said, "We will never be able to afford the things we once had, never again.”

Standing in the ruins of his home, Gul said, "Since the flooding, flies and mosquitoes are everywhere…all over the children, all over us, everything.”

Jolie, who arrived in Pakistan today to highlight the suffering of millions of flood victims and the need for continuing aid for the displaced, walked through Mohib Banda village and witnessed first-hand the losses of the people and their bewilderment at the task they face ahead in rebuilding their lives.

"There was a small stream outside the broken homes. It was full of a mix of faeces, flies, old shoes and old clothes that had been recently washed into the water," said Jolie.

Mohib Banda, located a short distance from Peshawar, came to prominence some months ago after it became known that the village was the ancestral home of terror suspect Faisal Shahzad, arrested in the US for the botched car bomb attack in New York’s Times Square.

Jolie, who travelled to Pakistan as the personal envoy of UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres, also visited areas near Peshawar, including the Azakhel settlement for Afghan refugees and the Jalozai camp for people displaced by military operations against the Taliban.

"It’s clear this crisis is far from over," she said. "People have lost everything, their homes, their belongings, their crops and cattle, and their livelihoods. Long after the cameras have gone, people will be struggling to rebuild their lives."

The floods that first hit Pakistan in late July have killed over 1,700 people and affected 20 million.
"We must not forget flooding is not the only trauma plaguing this country," Jolie said, adding "They are still rebuilding infrastructure from the earthquake of 2005.

Jolie said they continue to have large numbers of IDPs as a result of the conflict in the north, and host 1.7 million Afghan refugees who still need care and refuge as conflict continues in their homeland.

"And now, the recent flooding and its aftermath (are) already affecting millions and (there is a) looming threat of disease," she said.

Jolie said one problem "does not negate the other" and "one headline should not pull focus from the many complexities of the situation in Pakistan".

The star is on her fourth visit to Pakistan since becoming a UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador in 2001. She last visited in November 2005 following the devastating earthquake in northern Pakistan.

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