|Islamic Relief UK aid workers report from the flood affected areas of Pakistan, responding to the emergency.|
Donate towards Islamic Relief's Pakistan floods response
22 September 2010
- Rt. Hon. Sadiq Khan and Shabana Mahmood MP share their thoughts from the flood affected area of KPK.
Eid. It is one of the most enjoyable days of the year. Tables covered in delicious food and drink, children ripping open their presents and everybody dressed in new clothes and shoes. Smiles, laughter, happiness and contentment fill Muslim households everywhere.
Here in Pakistan though, it’s a very different story. The people here at the campsite in Muzaffargarh ask me what they are supposed to do on Eid day and I have no reply for them. In previous years, they bought their children clothes and shoes. Now some of the children are forced to walk barefoot in the same clothes they’ve been wearing for the last month. I feel almost embarrassed that my children back in the UK will be showered with gifts and clothes by their mother.
On Eid day, the families here will be waiting for Islamic Relief to drop off food packs to them. The children will simply stand on the side of the road looking for cars and hoping one will provide them with some relief.
A 6 year old girl named Basra called me to her tent. “Chachu”, she said (Urdu word for uncle). “Come inside our house”. I felt so guilty, so ashamed, and so ungrateful. If it was me being forced to live in a tent here in the UK, I could never call it my home. But this little girl, so thankful for the shelter Islamic Relief had provided her with, was inviting me into her humble abode to break my fast and share her food.
As I travelled to Islamabad, my mind and my thoughts remained in Muzaffargarh. With the people that are going through such a torrid time and yet try and make the best of what they have. We should give as much as we can to help people like Basra rebuild their lives. Why not donate a little of your Eid money to the millions of people that have been so tragically affected by the floods. Whether it is £1 or £100, all donations will help provide food, water, medicine and shelter to those so desperately in need. Please keep up your support so that we can continue this much needed work. The Pakistani people are calling for help; join us in answering their call.
08 September 2010
When I left flood devastated Pakistan in August, I made a promise to the people that I would return to spend Eid with them. The pain of leaving them behind was far greater than the pain I felt when I left my family behind to return to Pakistan on Monday. I went back not only to fulfil my promise, but also to see with my own eyes how the British people’s £42 million of donations are being spent - the impact the money was having on the Pakistani peoples’ lives and just how much value was being added to Islamic Relief’s relief operations on the ground.
I travelled to a small village in Muzaffargarh on Tuesday, where Islamic Relief had set up a camp accommodating 200 families. When the flood came, the village had become an island and even now I could see parts were still underwater. The scale of the disaster is unimaginable. It is only when you see it for your own eyes that it becomes real. All the suffering and devastation becomes real right in front of you.
Islamic Relief had provided tents, food, water and healthcare to the victims that had trekked as far as 100km to get to the campsite. Islamic Relief had four similar campsites in other affected regions. I saw water tanks labelled ‘Oxfam’ being filled up by Islamic Relief tankers. About 30,000 litres of water were being distributed every single day. It was heart-warming to see two DEC members working together in the field.
The children here have spots all over their bodies from washing in contaminated water. They suffer from severe stomach ache – their stomachs have been so terribly weakened by the lack of food that they can no longer digest anything. Skin disease, eye infections, diarrhoea and gastroenteritis are spreading from person to person. At Islamic Relief’s mobile clinics, volunteer doctors from across the world are treating over 400 victims a day. One doctor from Canada told me that his experiences in Pakistan have changed the way he looks at life, people and all the things he takes for granted. I am constantly thinking about my life back home and how lucky me and my children are, with more food and water than we need.
A small group of children wanted to send a reminder to the British public and thank them for their generosity with a song. They sang about their dreams – they wished they could shine like the stars in their character and personality. They wanted to inspire the world and have knowledge, strength and ability enough to help the needy. It is our responsibility as human beings to fulfil the dreams of these suffering children. Please keep up your support so that we can continue this much needed work. The Pakistani people are calling for help; join us in answering their call.Habib Malik
07 September 2010
It’s been a very busy 3 weeks of activity in Pakistan for Islamic Relief – from organizing food, water, household kits and healthcare, to attending coordination meetings with other organizations working on the ground, it has all been rather chaotic. However, although our day begins at 8.00am and doesn’t finish until after midnight, and the weather here is unbelievably hot and humid, any hardship we may be facing does not compare to the suffering of the Pakistani people – forced to sleep in the open or in makeshift tents that provide little protection from the elements and a lack of the most basic of needs such as food and clean water.
Difficulties for Women
Many of the victims who were rendered homeless have been wearing the same clothes for the last four weeks, causing hygiene and skin problems. The plight of the women however, is even greater when it come to hygiene. Whereas the men and children can wash in the open using the many water pumps available, the women need some privacy, making it unbearably difficult for them to keep clean. One study has estimated that at least 100,000 flood victims are pregnant women. Where here in the UK, we associate pregnancy with extra special care and happiness, for the pregnant women that have been so devastatingly affected by the floods, there is only despair.
Source of Disease
As if its destructive force was not enough, the flood water is now transforming into a source of disease. The bodies of dead animals, the stagnation of the water and the hot weather are all perfect breeding grounds for illness. The local population however, is not aware of these dangers. I saw many of them wading through flooded roads, children playing in the water trying to cool themselves and people drinking it because they had no other alternative. Hunger is also pushing many of the displaced people to attempt catching fish with makeshift fishing nets in the vain hope that they may be able to feed their hungry families. Despite their best efforts, I haven’t seen any of them succeed. The dirty water is resulting in skin diseases, cholera, malaria and diarrhea. The number of cases is increasing, and the likelihood of an outbreak is very real.
Islamic Relief teams have been working around the clock in Pakistan since the first seventy two hours of this disaster. From the North to the South, through the generous donations of the public, we have been able to deliver life-saving aid to over 100,000 victims of the floods.
We have set up camps and distributed tents in Nowshera and Charsadda, Neelum and Muzaffargarh. 100,000 liters of clean drinking water are being distributed to these camps every single day. We are now looking to acquire more water tankers and set up treatment facilities so that we may allocate clean water to the south of Punjab and Sindh. In addition, we are distributing food parcels to the affected families to last them for a month. Within the next few days the number of people receiving food assistance will have reached almost 150,000. Since most of the affected people have lost all their belongings including cooking utensils, we are providing them with kitchen sets enabling them to cook the food that they receive.
Furthermore, we are distributing household kits that contain items such as mattresses, pillows, mosquito nets and blankets. We are also providing families with hygiene kits so that they can avoid the risk of disease. To deal with the health problems that most of the Pakistani people are developing, we have rolled out 5 mobile clinics - 2 in KPK and 3 in south Punjab. The mobile clinics visit villages and provide free consultations and treatment to the victims of the flood.
Long Term Support
Beyond the first three months of immediate relief, we are planning to help the victims to rebuild their lives. The people here not only lost their houses in the flood, but also their livelihoods. Most of them are peasants and farmers, their lands unsuitable for farming due to the contaminated water. Our job therefore will not end within the next few months, but will continue for the next 2-3 years to help the affected families rebuild their lives and stand on their feet again.
Although with your donations we have been able to do a lot, when we look at the scale of the disaster we can see that there’s still a lot left to be done. We ask you therefore to keep up your support so that we can extend your generosity to the needy. The Pakistani people are calling for help; join us in answering their call.Moadh Kheriji
30 August 2010
60 km separate Muzaffargarh and Kut Addu in South Punjab. 60km of destruction and devastation. Mile after mile of endless water, resting on what used to be agricultural land just one month ago. Houses flattened like pancakes and tossed aside like rag dolls. Everywhere across flood devastated Pakistan, land and infrastructure have been ravaged, leaving behind only countless tales of loss, pain and misery.
At one of the camps that have been set up to temporarily aid the victims, I met 65 year old Imam Mohammed Anwar. His 200 household village in South Punjab had been unable to withstand the might of the floods. The water had come so quickly that he barely had enough time to save his family and a few animals. The women and the children were hurried onto an ox-drawn cart, and they all fled to the nearest high ground in the area. For the first few days, with no signs of rescue in sight, Mohammed and his family were forced to sleep under torrential rain, the scorching sun and suffocating humidity. With no clean water and very little food, they made best of what they had and attempted a shelter, placing two of the carts close together and then putting a piece of cloth in between to create some sort of a tent.
An additional 100 families were in the same boat, as they waited along the same stretch of road for help to arrive. Days passed, until finally one of the Islamic Relief assessment teams came across them. After a quick review, the team fetched tents. When I asked Mohammed whether the tents made any difference to his circumstances, I could see tears welling in his eyes. He said that the very fact that someone came to find out about their condition and to help them, moved him and made him feel secure. They no longer felt alone and were thankful that they had not been forgotten. The tent not only shields them from the weather, but gives his family something of a place of their own.
The Islamic Relief team also provided Mohammed and the other displaced families with food packs and kitchen utensils, allowing them to prepare meals for themselves. Hygiene kits to help fight disease were also distributed. Mohammed happily told me that they had also started receiving clean drinking water from an Islamic Relief tanker that visits their camp twice a day. He said that this had made a big difference to them as some of the children had fallen ill from contaminated water.
I enquired about their village and if he had made any plans to return. His answer, unfortunately, was that the village was still submerged underwater – “we don’t know how long we will be staying here, our future is uncertain. I want to thank the people [from the UK] not only for their donations, but also for remembering us and thinking about us”. He proceeded to make a long prayer for the donors, for God to bless them and their families.
Many others, like Imam Mohammed Anwar, need our support. Not only to get by in these difficult times, but also in rebuilding their lives, their houses, and their lands. Please maintain your support to the people of Pakistan; this is their hour of need, so let us answer their call.
21 August 2010
Yesterday, I visited Londa, a village in North Pakistan which had been heavily affected by the floods. The water level had risen to six feet, destroying the mud houses and leaving nothing in its wake bar a single concrete framed gate. The floods had also contaminated the water pumps in the village transforming the blessing of water into a source of illness and death. Until an engineer could be brought in to de-contaminate the pumps, the villagers had to be provided with water from elsewhere. Therefore we began the arduous task of using tankers to transport water every day, from clean sources to the village.
Seifullah Khan had been a resident of Londa. He had built his four bedroom family home with a mixture of mud and whatever wood and bricks he could find. His modest house didn't stand a chance against the floods and was crushed into a heap. With nowhere to go, Seifullah was forced to sleep under the stars with his wife and children. Only 30km away, Islamic Relief’s Pakistan office in Mardan was moving quickly, delivering aid supplies within the first few days of the floods. Seifullah’s family and the other 180 families in the village thankfully received a tent as well as household and hygiene kits.
The people here are some of the most resilient I have ever seen. As soon as the water had started receding, Seifullah, like the other villagers, began rebuilding his house. I found him constructing his exterior wall with the same material that was the source of his problems - mud. When I asked him why he was building with materials that will again be useless against flooding, he answered that he couldn’t afford to buy cement and bricks. More importantly, he wanted to provide extra privacy to his family as this goes hand in hand with honour and dignity in his village. His story tugged at my heartstrings. I promised Seifullah that I would relay his plight, his courage and his dignity to our community in the UK and that I would appeal to them to help him, and the millions of others like him, build a proper home that will withstand any future rain and floods.Moadh Kheriji
13 August 2010
May the peace & blessings of Allah (swt) be upon you all.
We have just returned from visiting Nowsherra & Charsadda in KPK. All those interviews & words spoken on all the media channels over the last 10 days have become even more of a reality, with what my eyes have personally witnessed & what my heart has felt.
Toda was the 1st day of Ramadan in Pakistan, my 1st opportunity to begin fasting with the people of Pakistan. The people exchanged Ramadan greetings with smiles but I could sense the deep sense of worry & concern on everyone's mind with a national disaster of epic proportions.
Today, as Habib has been sharing with all of us, I personally witnessed the devastating impact of this flood. Subhanallah, people here are really being tested. They suffered from drought, earthquakes, conflict, poverty & now torrential rains & devastating floods.
Today as we visited Nowsherra & Charsadda (2 hours drive from Islamabad) I was reflecting on all the times over the last 13 years I have visited Pakistan & sadly it has always been due to one form of tragedy or another.
This trip was no different, witnessing the devastating impact of the floods, continuous torrential rain has caused widespread havoc. Took out livelihood & the crops triggering a serious food security crisis.
All this on the eve of Ramadan. I have met people who are fasting with nothing in their stomachs & very little to open their fast with.
Alhamduilah, Alhamdulilah, the rain stopped over the last 2days giving us @ IR a window of opportunity to get the Aid out of warehouses & to the people.
Tents, Shelter, Hygiene kits, Food packets to over 3500 families are being distributed, some of which we were privileged to distribute today. Today the 1st of Ramadan insh'allah some people will eat & break their fast with some food.
£40 for a food packet to last a family of 7 for an entire month. You will be helping people break their fast with much needed food @ a cost of £1.33 per day, 19p per person per day, subhanallah.
Allah bless all of you, please pray & encourage supporting the people of Pakistan & elsewhere in the world.
As we left Nowsherra, Sultan (an elderly, amazing aid worker) our Emergency Manager in the area, thanked us for the support & pleaded for more support.
He wants to reach 18000 families mash'allah.
Sultan asked us to stay & break fast with him & we apologised as we had to return to Islamabad. He apologised for not being able to "serve us better" under the circumstances.
I replied to br. Sultan, by serving the people, you have indeed more than served us, as we have a trust to serve our donors & supporters.
Allah help the people of Pakistan & all the people who are in distress right now. Ameen.Jehangir Malik
07 August 2010