Islamic Relief Blog - More challenges ahead as winter season approaches
02 November 2011
By Muhammad Haseeb Khalid - Islamic Relief Pakistan worker
Islamic Relief Pakistan's Haseeb Khalid with flood victims in Sindh
During my extensive travels through the flooded areas of Sindh, I found stagnant water all around, even though it’s now two months after the floods. There are gloomy faces, devastation, dead animals, destroyed crops, displaced people, and anger amongst the affected communities. One cannot imagine the problems of families who are forced to face difficulties every moment of the day.
Just imagine you are homeless, sitting on the roadside, and you have no way to reach a safer place. You are starved, your belongings, crops and homes have been washed away by floods and no one cares about your difficulties; what do you do?
Here in Sindh the situation is even worse. People are starving, mothers and newborns are malnourished, old people have no access to healthcare, animals have no fodder to eat, snake bite cases have been reported, hygiene facilities don’t seem to be anywhere, and there is fear of disease outbreaks. But the biggest problem is that winter season is approaching and communities will be even more vulnerable.
These communities are angry about how little attention they have received from the state and from aid agencies. Aid workers are approaching a few people with relief goods but the need is very high.
In its emergency response, Islamic Relief has targeted the worst affected districts of Badin, Mirpurkhas and Thatta. It was quite satisfactory to see the emergency teams involved in approaching these villages that are far away from main roads. An example of this is the work that has been done in Hadi Buksh, Dagan, Bugury, Kario Ganwar, Rahoki, Gharo, Ahmed Rajo and Makli where Islamic Relief has not only provided emergency assistance to communities but has also provided them with poultry, goats and breeding bulls, to help them earn their own livelihood.
During my visit to Omer Malah, which is in the district of Thatt, a theatre show on health and hygiene issues was put on by Islamic Relief for flood affected communities. It was used as a medium to educate people about cleanliness and as a source of entertainment in which a large number of people - young, old, male, female and children - participated.
By using this infotainment approach Islamic Relief is bringing communities closer by engaging them in awareness sessions and also involving them in the recovery phase.
Theatre shows, awareness sessions, health camps, the distribution of food packs and non-food items (NFIs) and income generation solutions are part of efforts to bring life back to ravaged areas of Badin, Mirpurkhas and Thatta. All these efforts, which Islamic Relief is putting together for flood affected communities, is thanks to donors.
In the days to come the need will be different, as the winter season is approaching. The role of the International community and of donors is vital to bring back smiles to the many gloomy faces of Sindh.
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