Pakistan Flood Relief Day 34-37 part 3

Greetings of Peace

Dear Recipients

The entire supply team with several trucks arrive. Sehwan City ignites; not only are internally displaced refugees excited here, non affected, but the extremely poor inhabitants of this city also are desperate for a share of what’s on offer. The municipality is prepared, even for this challenge; our supplies are moved into secure warehouses and items for the first hundred families are taken to the unnatural “river” at the edge of the city.

The officials are efficient; boats arrive in numbers; supplies are loaded on bigger boats and personnel on smaller ones. The engine driven boats are guided by children as young as 12 years; they instruct where the pilot must accelerate, decelerate or switch off the motor as they weave through submerged homes, roads and trees. The boats criss cross in strange formations as these youngsters map out the safest way to the first “island” thirty minutes away. We pass the N55, a national highway, completely submerged; we stare in awe at the limitless volumes of undrinkable, highly infected water, the hundreds of destroyed homes and the hectares of washed out agricultural and cotton fields, this being the economy, the daily subsistence of millions of Pakistanis; its all gone; the long term prospects too bleak to contemplate; the reality that 9 billion USD is required to rehabilitate this country and its people is becoming painfully obvious; the scale of destruction is unprecedented in history.

Mr Rehmatullah leads the team into the “island” as ecstatic victims crowd the boats. Word has spread that the relief items have arrived, but this is a trial run, so only a hundred families are catered for. Whilst the lists are being prepared, the female members of our team, as is standard practice, take supplies, seek out and deliver to gratefully appreciative widows and orphaned children.

The team completes its mission; it’s late; the heat, the stress and the sheer physical exhaustion of controlling hungry masses impacts on a tiring team that still has to take the boat trip back to Sehwan and from here the 2 hour trip to Hyderabad City as this is the only place where safe and suitable accomodation has been available during the entire period of our operation in this region. Tomorrow is another day and will commence yet again with the 2 hour journey back to Sehwan even before we can initiate further relief operations.

Imtiaz Sooliman

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