In remote areas of Asia such as the Chitrali Hindu Kush, rural communities are being hit hard by Covid-19.
Lockdown has pushed many Chitrali families to the edge. Most are small-scale subsistence farmers. Their breadwinners are usually ‘daily wagers’, which in Pakistan means someone reliant on day-to-day work, mainly labour.
These are the same marginalized communities that have kept ancient landraces alive through decades of prohibition.
Old friends of ours in Chitral are organizing drops of food and other basic necessities to hard-hit families in Yarkhun Valley and other remote areas of the mountains.
Before prohibition, households in Yarkhun would have had a lifeline through income from hashish. After the ’70s, the Pakistan government promised them alternatives but has never made good on that promise.
I will then pass the money to an old NGO worker friend of mine, whose family is organizing free jeep taxi services and food drops around the valleys.
The families in Chitral send their heartfelt thanks and prayers to everyone who has sent help. It really is profoundly appreciated.
I hope the photos give some idea of how poor some of these households are. Many had their homes destroyed by the 2015 floods, when climate change caused monsoon rains to fall for the first time ever in Chitral.
Wheat flour, rice, and other necessities really are making all the difference for them.
Again, huge thanks to everyone who is helping out!