07 September 2010
PAKISTAN FLOOD RELIEF DAY 6-14 PART 1 KARACHI
Greetings of Peace
What follows is a personal account of the young group of Gift of the Givers volunteers who have continued serving their countrymen with distinction. Several days were utilised in the procurement of supplies, packing, warehousing and then delivery. The unedited version below has been penned by Neelum Sayed, the group leader. Neelum was supported by 24 youth volunteers. Col Abdul Waheed Khan, head of the Anti-terrorism Task Force in Sindh Province, provided 20 policemen on a full time basis, to guarantee safe passage of supplies and personnel through certain volatile areas. He also instructed his son to join our team and be an active member in the distribution of supplies.
Visit www.giftofthegivers.org for all the latest pics and two articles penned by Beauregard Tromp from the Independent Group, who linked up with our team on the way to a massive distribution in Badin. On our Facebook site, is a video clip from Express TV, one of the largest TV networks in Pakistan that featured Gift of the Givers distribution as a news item.
3rd September, 2010, it’s a fine sunny morning in Karachi and the enthusiastic team is ready for the long journey to Badin, which is 500km from Karachi. Badin is one of those cities in which major influx of IDP’s have arrived. Badin has 5 sub-districts, with approximately more than 150,000 IDP’s. With such large number of IDP’s, we have planned to help 1500 families, our largest distribution campaign so far.
So the team starts preparing to help our countrymen in Badin and adjoining areas. The preparation started a week ago in which first 3 days were spent in placing orders, re-negotiating the price as the quantity was larger than before. The most challenging part was to get the right item with the exact quantity needed according to the list i-e linen, towels, pots, spoons, buckets, water coolers, eating utensils, new clothing, baby milk and grocery items. Most of the wholesalers themselves didn’t have sufficient quantity so we had to purchase it from different places.
As the goods were being delivered we knew that we needed a bigger place for storage and also space for packing. One of our team members was kind enough to offer his place for storing and packing goods. Now it was time for packing the goods. We had to pack 1400 sacks and 1400 water coolers were also to be filled with grocery item. It was very hot and the team was working in the lawn without any shade. And then out of no where it started raining, sheer panic as everything had to be covered . Sacks were hurriedly loaded on to the trucks and sent to a warehouse courtesy to Col Wahid Khan. Luckily it didn’t rain very long, packing went on till late night and next day. It took us 3 days for packing 1400 sacks and coolers.
There are 2 routes from Karachi to Badin, one through Hyderabad and the other from Thatta. The route from Thatta is the shorter but due to floods was closed for all kinds of traffic. Our only option was to go to Badin via Hyderabad.
During the journey we had seen some devastating scenes of houses and agriculture land under water. The journey was long and the movement was slow as the whole convoy of cars and slow moving trucks travelled together. It was nearly dark and we were about 25 km from Badin. On reaching Badin we met the District Officer. After long negotiation we managed to convince him that the team will distribute the goods itself and won’t handover the aid to local administration.
First stop for distribution was Roshan Tara high school, around 160 registered families and Zain high School a temporary home to 60 families. These people had come to this school 2 days back and weren’t provided proper food. All 220 families where provided with everything we had brought for them. Then the DO took us to Memon Community Center, a small building sheltering more than 60 families. The team was at work once again distributing goods quickly yet calmly. Next to the community center is Pir Ali Shah sports complex, turned into a tent village with more than 200 tents, but only 26 families as it was in process of being set up. Its past midnight and we have decided that we will stay the night in Badin. Later that night a few team members met with the local media representatives at the press club. We introduced GOTG foundation and informed them about the work GOTG foundation has done all over the world and especially in Pakistan.
Early next morning while the team is sleeping 5 members went to do a little survey to identify the camps as only 36000 IDP’s were registered out of estimated 150000. At 10’o’clock next morning we left Badeen and headed towards Golharchi 40 km further. People were sitting alongside the main highway, without food, water or proper shelter. We met with DO in his office, he asked the DDO to accompany us to the camps for distribution. The first camp was established in a college, in which there were 298 families. As we left this camp and moved towards our next camp which was earlier visited by our team we saw people camped alongside the main Badeen-Gulharchi highway. Once again the team stopped and distributed these 26 families with relief goods and new clothes.
Our next stop, Chak No. 25 a small village where around 300 families have camped. Some in the local school and the rest under the sky. The team starts distributing goods, and clothes. Everyone was very tired but as we handed out the clothes to children they immediately put the new ones on, and the joy on their faces and their parents faces, can’t be described in words. The only thing I can say is that there smiling faces made us forget our tiredness.
It’s been two day of hard work and there are still goods left for distribution, so it was decided that we store the goods and return in a day or two. Once again Col Wahid Khan assisted us in providing storage space. The team is leaving tonight for Badeen to finish the distribution.
Dr Imtiaz Sooliman
Chairman and Founder