Millions of people continue to struggle in the aftermath of severe flooding in southern Pakistan, including many still recovering from the 2010 floods. Spearheaded by our relief expert Riaz Khalil, AmeriCares responded with two distributions of non-food items, benefiting 2,600 people, and 30 free medical camps, treating a total of 7,500 patients. On Christmas Day, 2011, a relief distribution took place in Thatta, a town located in the southwest portion of Pakistan in the Sindh province. Below, Riaz delivers an account of the great need he saw that day.
“Compared to the 2010 floods, I found this to be the most vulnerable population of displaced people by far.”
In Thatta, a town that was severely hit by the 2011 floods, the damage was worse that what I had seen after the 2010 floods. The waters took longer to recede and rebuilding efforts have been delayed. Many families live in huts and mud homes, and most were destroyed or washed away by floodwaters. Exacerbating the circumstances, many villages in the province are isolated and there has been very little aid response for survivors.
I arrived on December 25, and met with the country director of our partner, Human Appeal International (HAI), to assist with the distribution of cooking sets, quilts and plastic floor mats. A total of 70 households benefited, and many of the beneficiaries were handicapped. Compared to the 2010 floods, I found this to be All recipients expressed gratitude and emphasized how helpful the quilts and plastic mats will be to protect from the cold dirt floors in their huts. After the distribution, I visited some of families.
I met Jalal, age 85, who once was a famous painter in Thatta but has suffered many tragedies in his life. He had a road accident 10 years ago that left him paralyzed from the arms down. Jalal’s son developed a disability, and was also unable to provide for the family. Three years ago, Jalal’s wife lost her eyesight and now the family must stay home to care for their son as best they can. Jalal’s neighbors can’t help them financially, but they were able to assist by loaning them one quilt. Jalal told me:
“This is first time that someone from any organization visited me and talked to me. In this cold season, the quilts and plastic mat are important, and I was also able to return my neighbor’s quilt. Thank you AmeriCares for taking care of us.”
I also met Alo, an unemployed fisherman who lives with his family of 12 in a hut with a damaged roof. He expressed gratitude, saying: “We are thankful for these very essential items. My kids now have two new quilts and a plastic mat which we will use for sleeping during the night.”
AmeriCares work will continue in the Sindh Province, with additional relief distributions to help 1,600 survivors, and a clinic rehab project that will benefit an estimated 121,000 people in need.