Pakistan is currently facing one of the worst crises in recent history, significantly more than the massive Earthquake in 2005. In fact the United Nations has declared this disaster as being worse than the 2005 Earthquake AND the 2004 Tsunami combined! With official figures quoting above 1600 dead, over 12 million homeless, and nearly a fifth of the country submerged in water, this is a grave time for the nation.
Many relief operations are being carried out by the various organizations and our own Dr Awab Alvi (of Teeth Maestro) and Faisal Kapadia (of Deadpan Thoughts) were in Sukkur carrying out relief operations. (See Pictures posted by Dr Awab and Faisal’s report on the trip).
Below is an account received via email from an acquaintance, Tahir Farooqui, who along with some others was organizing relief efforts in Charsadda.
The extent of relief we need can not be quantified. The immediate scenario calls for food, water, shelter, clothes, medicines, but in reality the extent of the damage these floods have done will be far-reaching as the economy is in tatters with crops, livestock, supplies, roads all washed away. Countless will need to rebuild homes, several major bridges will need to be re-built, our dams and barrages are filled to the bursting point with water and the fear is that if they overflow many more people will suffer from this calamity. If you are not already out there and doing something to help, wake up and start. Whether it is raising money, collecting goods, going out in the field, organizing medical camps, we need more participation in this. The response to the Earthquake was overwhelming but this time round the general populace seems to have lost their enthusiasm for helping.
I hope the below account of Tahir Farooqui and his friends will help motivate some more people. If anyone wants to contribute to Tahir and his team please contact me and I will get you in touch Insha’Allah.
Dear Brothers, Sisters and Respected Elders, Assalamu Alaikum>
I hope this finds you in the best of Eman and health in the month of Ramadan.
By the Grace of Allah Swt, We (Tahir Farooqui, Ali Raza and Danish Qaiyoum) have returned from Charsadda villages after successfully completing the first round of relief efforts in the flood hit areas. We got to witness pain, anguish, disaster, hunger, misery, violence and above all Allah’s anger in the form of rivers flowing way out of control. I simply go out of words when trying to express the feeling. This email contains some details which will give the reader a basic idea about how we drove the overall effort. May Allah accept this little effort and contributions from everyone who stepped forward. Ameen.
What were our areas of focus..?
Our main camp of “Hunermand Pakistan” was based in NavaKilla Charsadda. Navakilla is a village which is about 4-6 Km away from main Charsadda City Adda. This small town is surrounded by many other small villages. River Kabul and River Sawat flowed across these areas which caused massive destruction. Our main focus remained on these 12 small villages around NavaKilla which were shattered by the flood. Little relief efforts came to these places since accessibility to these areas was tough. Alhamdulillah we were able to gain access to these areas.
We have been also coordinating with our friend’s/relief workers in Bisham of District Shangla. Let me tell you that Shangla has the lowest Human Development Index in the province and second lowest in the country! Hundred of families have been badly affected by the flood, land sliding followed by heavy rain in the surroundings of Shangla were also witnessed.
What was the destruction like..?
As I mentioned before, no words can express. You should have been with me to feel the pain and misery that these people were going through. Broken bridges, destructed houses, tearful eyes silently communicated the message “We have lost everything but hope…who will help us now..?” Attached with this email, you can find images which can give you a little idea about the destruction we witnessed. I have added short description next to each image. Shortly I will be releasing a full YouTube video that we made which will give you a more clearer picture about what was going on.
The situation in remote areas of Bisham is quite different to other flood hit areas. There is no road access to the remote areas of Shangla, as all the connecting bridges have been broken. I will be sharing pictures of that area as soon as we get them inshAllah.
What did we do to help these shattered souls..?
Alhamdulilah, we managed to provide 800 flood hit families with a 5 weeks Ramadan Food Package in Charsdda and around 300 families will be covered next week in Bisham of District Shangla inshAllah. This Ramadan Food Package was designed to help an average family of 7 people to spend the Holy month of Ramadan with a little ease. Each package included:
40 Kg Atta (Flour)
4 Kg Chawal (Rice)
Rooh Afza Sharbat (1 bottle)
10 Kg Sugar
1.5 Kg Masala (Spices)
5 Kg Oil (Ghee)
1.5 Kg Tea Powder
3 Kg Lobia (I don’t know what we call this in English)
2 Kg Chana Daal and 2 Kg Moong key Daal
1 Kg dates
What was the process that we executed during this relief effort..?
My friend, Dr. Abdullah is a trained relief worker who has actively played his part in Sawat Region during the IDP disaster with me. He is also the coordinator of the Disaster Management Unit at University of Kohat. With a PhD in Social Works, he is the person responsible for Hunermand Pakistan which ran us through the following process of relief effort:
Formation of flood impact survey teams and assignment of these teams to different villages.
Collection of information with respect to flood impact caused to each home in these villages.
Dissemination of flood impact information to brothers and sisters across Pakistan who then came to help. This information contained details about immediate bare minimum needs of the victims which were required for their survival.
Verification of the documented impact. This verification was done by us (Tahir, Ali and Danish)
Devising the relief packages, purchasing food supplies and conversion of supplies into well defined packages.
Distribution of Ramadan food Package to flood hit families. The distribution process in Shangla is slightly different as there is no road access to that area. Mules are being hired for the distribution of the food supplies.
As I write, the relief efforts initiated by our team still continue to operate in the mentioned areas. With disaster striking in Sindh, we are creating alliance with a highly trusted relief organization which has already started providing relief operations (medical and food supplies) in Sindh. More details will be revealed very soon inshAllah. For those who are interested, kindly contact myself or brother Ali Raza (firstname.lastname@example.org).
JazakAllahukhair for all your prayers and support!
Some Photos of the Trip
A view of the destroyed crops. The poor farmers have no place to work for….
These were 5 small houses in the village of Rajjar. Can you find them…
This was the street which had houses on both sides…
Another view of a street in a village of Charsadda. 12 feet water stood here for more than 7 days….
A 3 story school on main GT road which was fully submerged in water for few days….
An iron bridge on main GT road. This bridge was fully covered with water and was finally swept away. We provided relief efforts just few kms away from this location….
From left to right Ali, Danish, Dr Abdullah and Tahir discussing the distribution process in our storage room.
Our storage room: We spent the night converting supplies into separate bags for Ramadan Packages. More than 50 people worked all night long to perform this job.
A view of our storage room after the food supplies were converted to separate Ramadan Package (Bags)…
Our food supplies kept on coming in finding its way in the storage room and then finally landing in the hands of deserving flood victims.
In view of the upcoming Ramadan we added 1 Kg of dates to each Ramadan package. The team is working in full swing at night time in order to meet their deadline…
One of our loaded mini trucks is moving ahead while our distribution staff is using a van from Maymar Trust….
Distribution taking place in one of the effected villages. Around 1000 houses were destroyed in this small village called Rajjar.