Pakistan Flood Relief Day 34-37 Part 2

By sylviahammond, 15 October, 2010

Greetings of Peace

Dear Recipients

The briefing by Mr Rehmattulah and his team is over. We are taken to the absolute epicentre of the flood: on the left is the flood water from Manchchar Lake; the water is up to 4m high, yet the actual lake is 20km away; on the right is the swollen Indus River; in the middle is the main link road that connects to Dadu and the northern part of the country; the road is washed away; to get to Dadu 20km away requires an alternative route which virtually takes 3 hours.

This flood just keeps getting more and more complicated in every possible way; access to people just becomes so much more difficult, it takes much more time and so much more funding. We are shown the special cut made by engineers through the road to divert flooded waters from the lake to enter the river. Once again its been a tremendous learning exercise in disaster management.

Its time to discuss logistics and appropriate interventions. Unlike other areas here the only major requirement is non-perishable food items. The only means of access to 40 000 trapped families is by boat, in some cases up to 2 hours away on water that has now formed its own "river". Our plans have to change; the supply team in Karachi has to delay departure to modify the relief packages to ensure only non-perishable food items accompany the team. They will now depart around 1am. We make arrangements to place the items in secure storage when they arrive tomorrow, the boats are booked and the list of recipients are prepared. All credit to the municipality and the local government for rapid and efficient response to our requests. We receive a call from the Finance Minister of Sindh Province, Mr Murad Ali Shah, thanking profusely for the South African contribution to his suffering people. We await arrival of our supply team. Tomorrow is going to be a very challenging day. We need to map out which "islands" we are going to respond to and how to increase speed of distribution to prevent mass hunger.

Imtiaz Sooliman



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