Today, Dec 11, 2010, is the 4th day we have been working at the medical camps; the fatigued medical personnel and volunteers are beginning to feel the effects of long hours of hard work, exposure to dust, and harsh weather conditions.
When we first arrived in the area, we were guided to a village in the heart of the barren wilderness. The surrounding land is infertile and inhospitable, empty other than a few rocks scattered here and there. The people in the nearby public building have lost their homes to the floods. Surprisingly, the community is well-populated, despite the inhumane living conditions.
We met with Mr. Mamtaz, the President of the Roshni Development Organization (RDO), who explained to us how the people in the area had been abandoned by the NGOs and political parties. Under the direction of Mr. Stanley David, member of the RDO and our collaborator, we set up a medical camp. Our efforts were received with gratitude by Mr. Mamtaz, Mr. Stanley, and the approximately two hundred patients who were treated. Many people notice the banner on our van advertising free medical care, which gives them somewhat of an idea of who we are and of the services we provide.
Shortly after our arrival, we were greeted by a woman who told us that she was not producing milk for her infant child. It dawned on us that we had neglected to bring Lactogin with us. We noticed that several of the other newborns appeared malnourished, weak and fragile; the nursing mothers, too, appeared to be emaciated. We realized the necessity of stocking the requested item. We made arrangements to acquire Lactogin immediately in a quantity sufficient to supply all the needs of children under six months of age.
The population appears satisfied with the quality of our supplies. The people particularly appreciated our stock of medications such as Panadol (acetaminophen) for pain, Lactogin for the infants and their mothers, and other medicines such as cough syrup, tablets for fever, etc. The inhabitants of the village compare the quality of our services with those of the other NGOs and Government health facilities. They like our work and appreciate our genuine desire to serve, which flows from the heart of St. Camillus. Our presence has been a source of hope and joy for these people, who have been experiencing abandonment.
The mothers were delighted when we photographed their children. Many mothers approached me and requested that I take the pictures of their children. They were very glad for this simple joy. It brought smiles to their faces, which were once withered, seemingly hopeless. The spirit of St. Camillus continues touching the lives of many through the people of good will who bring the “Good News” of health and salvation!
Our presence in the desolate area, the availability of medications and sustenance, has brought new hope to the desolate situation. The people have seemed to gain new life. Their apathy has been replaced by faith and positive energy. They rejoice although they are surrounded by desolate wilderness.
Perhaps Isaiah includes these people when he said: “The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad, the desert shall rejoice and blossom…” (Is 35:1).
Bro. Mushtaq Anjum, MI Ministers of the Infirm (CAMILLIANS) Philippine Province http://www.camilliansphil.orgRead Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
Mushtaq, a Camillian from Pakistan who is the mission coordinator of our efforts in the wake of the floods, sends us an article on the situation in Sindh, a desperate one that led us to help construct houses and provide other relief in the area.
DADU, 16 November 2010 (IRIN) – Like tens of thousands of others in the southern province of Sindh, Ghulam Uddin and his family of eight are all but marooned more than 100 days after floodwater started swamping huge chunks of Pakistan in late July.
Chest-deep water surrounds their house in a village in Dadu district, which has turned fields into lakes and destroyed all of Uddin’s carefully cultivated crops, and though it is possible to wade through the water, it is not easy.
“I cannot see how we are going to get back to anything resembling normal,” Uddin told IRIN. “My elderly mother insisted we come back because she hated life in the camps [set up to provide emergency shelter].” His house has been badly damaged, and the family is living in the open, dependent on hand-outs of food. Most of the other villagers have not yet returned.
“There are around one and a half million people in Sindh who are still primarily displaced and have not been able to return home, and about another one and a half million who have managed to get close to their houses, but not move back,” Thomas Gurtner, the UN Principal Humanitarian Advisor for Sindh, told IRIN.
In Dadu district there were still a “few thousand people” marooned, but it was “very hard to know exactly how many,” he said. Most people whose homes were surrounded by water had been “reached at least once if not twice by tractors, trolleys and so on for the delivery of humanitarian aid.”
Life is not easy for those who have returned home. “Things here are tough. Our house is badly damaged and we have lost all our livestock,” said Saleem Ahmed, 50, who lives in the town of Khairpur Nathan Shah in Sukkur district. “We are being forgotten, and will just have to manage on our own.”
Anwar Kazmi, a spokesman for the charitable Edhi Foundation, told IRIN: “We are focusing on providing seed and fertilizer to flood victims who have returned home.” Many other organizations are also providing what assistance they can, but media attention has swung away from flood victims and donations are thinner.
“In August, at the height of the floods, most people who came to my [shoe] shop put in a few coins or currency notes for flood victims [in a collection box on the counter]. Now hardly anyone does,” said Muhamad Inayat, a trader in the Saddar area of Karachi, capital of Sindh Province.
Claire Seaward, Advocacy, Media and Communication Manager for the UK-based charity, Oxfam, told IRIN: “There is a real danger that this crisis will be forgotten, and we need to do everything we can to prevent that from happening. While recovery work is underway in many areas as people have moved back home, large areas of . Sindh are still under water, around 1 million remain displaced, and only a tiny percentage of people have received any shelter – the emergency is not over.”
She added: “The world has been hit hard by crises in 2010, and funds are running low, but with nearly seven million Pakistanis living without shelter and winter fast approaching, aid is needed now more than ever.”
According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), “The revised Pakistan Floods Emergency Response Plan (FERP) envisages activities costing US$1.93 billion over a one-year timeframe.”
So far, around $867.4 million (44.8 percent of requirements) has been contributed, and a further $5.9 million has been pledged, leaving a considerable gap.
Ministers of the Infirm (CAMILLIANS)
20 million people were displaced by the floods in Pakistan. CTF-SOS DRS is providing many of them with medical care, shelter, pastoral care and humanitarian support. Please help us help those affected by the floods in Pakistan
Pakistani Christians complain of bias
Published Date: October 18, 2010
|Houses destroyed by floods in Khushpur village|
Christian groups are alleging discrimination against Christian flood victims receiving relief aid .
“Government as well as other NGOs are giving priority to Muslim flood victims. We condemn this attitude,” said Ashir Dean, assistant Director of the Development and Relief programs of the Church of Pakistan in Peshawar diocese, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.
Similarly, Khushpur village in Punjab province was not included in a government scheme for the disbursement of a flood relief cash grant of 20,000 rupees (US$ 235) per family.
The locals in this biggest Catholic village in country recently started reconstruction of their destroyed house after Caritas Pakistan handed over building material last month.
“The authorities are favoring their own people. The federal minister for minorities is also from our village but still we did not receive any help from the government,” said Stephen Rufin, a retired Catechist.
As of Oct. 15, Caritas Pakistan, the Catholic Church’s social service agency in the country has distributed relief items among 25,710 families since floods hit the country in late July. About 2,000 people died and another some 20 million affected by the floods that covered almost one-fifth of the country. Caritas’ beneficiaries include only 1678 families from religious minority communities.
Media reports say the flood affected
• About 200,000 Christians in Punjab province
• About 600,000 Christians and Hindus in Sindh province
• 1,210 Christian and 220 Hindu families in the northern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province
“We have heard of Christians being denied flood relief aid in interior Sindh province. This is discouraging news as most of our beneficiaries are Muslims,” said Shamas Shamaun, executive secretary of Caritas Pakistan in the southern Hyderabad diocese.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )