A VISIT TO A HINDU COMMUNITY IN KOT ADDU, MUZAFFARGARH District
On Saturday October 16, after almost 3 months of floods, Fr. Aris and I together with one Caritas staff member went for a visit a one Hindu community.
On the way, we dropped by several refugee camps in the city of Muzaffar Garh, in the diocese of Multan. I saw so many people especially women and children sitting in the camps which are made of clothes, parachutes and prefabricated tents. It is a very hot day. The dust blows everywhere. The people run towards us when we stopped our car to take some pictures. They have lost their homes and even the little that they have. I visited and talked with a woman who is a widow who had five children. The eldest is around ten years old. Despair is all I could see in her eyes. I peeped inside the tent and I saw nothing; not even food and basic provisions such as clothes, utensils, etc. My heart was broken. I asked the girl if she studied. She does. This is one of the thousands of the flood victims.
Finally, we arrived at our destination Kot Addu, Muzaffargarh. This is a Hindu community and one of the most discriminated communities in Pakistan. This community is composed of 35 families. They were given the warning about the flood just only few minutes before the water washed away their homes. It was about midnight that they left their homes.
Upon our arrival, all the men gathered together with the presence of their councilor. I asked them if they received anything from the government and other groups or NGOs. Their representative said with a big NO except from the Christian organizations (Caritas, Churches of Pakistan. The muslims and other Islamic groups denied them of any assistance whatsoever. They are not given any token to get food ration. Whereas their Muslim neighbours do receive assistance.
The medical camps were setup but they got only the prescription. But most medicines are unavailable. Children and adults are getting sick of gastro-enteritis, malaria, and fever.
Their crops such as sugar cane, sesame, cotton, and rice are destroyed. Their lands cannot be ploughed yet. They have no money to buy fertilizer, seeds and so; and still they are in debt.
Winter is fast approaching. They have no warm clothes and their houses are not yet repaired. We saw some bricks there. They started picking up the pieces that were left. But they don’t have enough capital to rebuild their houses.
Water is still standing in several places. Roads and bridges and health care facilities were destroyed. Food is still a big necessity and lot of scarcity. They could not plant because the fields are still submerged with water.
By. Mushtaq Anjum. MI
Aris Miranda, MI