Police in Nawabshah, Pakistan have arrested a man for allegedly gang-raping a teenage survivor of the country’s deadly floods, after luring her with flood aid.
According to local police, they made the arrest after the teenager’s video testimony of her horrific ordeal went viral on social media. In the video, she accused two men of promising her relief supplies, abducting and confining her to an abandoned house, and then – along with three other men – gang-raping her for days. According to a report, the survivor said she was drugged before she was sexually assaulted.
While a man named Ghul Sheer Machi was arrested, local officials told media they were awaiting DNA evidence from the survivor’s forensic test to identify and possibly arrest the other culprits. In the meantime, the cops are conducting raids to get leads on the other accused men.
The incident in Pakistan’s Sindh province, an area severely affected by ongoing floods, revealed the heightened vulnerabilities survivors now face. In what Pakistan’s Climate Change Minister Sherry Rehman calls a “climate-induced humanitarian disaster of epic proportions”, at least 1,200 people have been killed, while one in six Pakistanis – or 30 million people – has been affected.
Mahnoor Rashid, who volunteers at Mahwari Justicean organization that provides menstrual health kits to women in flood-affected areas, told VICE World News that in a patriarchal country like Pakistan, where men act as protectors, women are left to fend for themselves- even as male members of their families are looking for resources.
“Women are out of their homes – out of their safety nets. They are more vulnerable than ever,” Rashid said. “In these times, security across the state has been a global issue.”
For millions like this girl from Sindh, access to relief supplies has been a struggle.
“There are huge infrastructural challenges in getting relief goods to survivors,” Sikander Bizenjo, co-founder of the volunteer agency Balochistan Youth Action Committee, told VICE World News. “We were held up for weeks because the roads were flooded.”
A video went viral this week of government helicopters in Balochistan province dropping a sack of flour from a height so great it exploded on the ground, leaving nothing for survivors.
The Balochistan government defended the move, saying it was impossible to land helicopters in the area.
Another video shows flood victims scraping flour from the floor of one of the torn relief bags dropped from a helicopter.
Desperation for humanitarian aid has sparked protests, as well as incidents of looting of donations. In the Pakistani town of Dera Murad Jamali, several NGOs halted relief operations after their trucks carrying relief items were looted. Many relief kits included drinking water, cooked meals and tents. Some NGOs now seek security information from law enforcement agencies.
Rashid, the student activist, said that apart from the emergency services, security conditions need to be improved. “An awareness program is also needed on a larger scale where flood victims need to beware of criminals,” she said.
Similar incidents of looting and violence were reported during the country’s previous deadly floods in 2010. At the time, 20 million people were affected, more than 1,400 were killed and a fifth of the country was inundated. .
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. Pakistan a survivor of the floods summer lured with of the goods relief then raped collectively