September 26, 2010

Money has been coming in from around the world to help Pakistan grapple with the devastation caused by the floods. Of course, Pakistanis here at home, as well as those based abroad, have been some of the most generous donors, providing both money and time. Many people have been busy either fund raising, volunteering with local NGOs, or collecting and packing relief goods. Below is an update of the work being done by one Karachi-based group of concerned citizens in conjunction with relief and charity organisations from Pakistan and the US.

On August 8th, 2010, the 4×4 OffRoaders Club out of Karachi went into action and launched its Pakistan flood relief campaign in partnership with SA Relief and Behbud Association.

Online donations were collected by Paksef (or the Pakistan Science & Engineering Foundation), a non-profit Corporation registered in California.

On the ground, the campaign was led by Dr Awab Alvi and Faisal Kapadia. Since launch, the campaign has raised over $142,000 with over $30,000 raised online.

The funds were used to:

  • Provide 36,800 people with food hampers, each hamper contained basic food for a family of five for a week
  • Provide 25,000 people with immediate ready-to-eat one-time meals
  • Provide 280 tents in various locations: Sukkur, Shikarpur and Thatta, which will provide shelter to 280 families or 2,800 people
  • Provide 500 families with clothes
  • Provide six trucks of water bottles, totaling approximately 1,000 cases of 1.5-litre bottles

To date, the team has led seven relief missions in Sindh (Kashmore, Shikarpur, Moro and Thatta, including a C-130 Airlift to Jacobabad). A detailed mission update can be found here at SA Relief.

The relief expeditions were unlike any other relief programme, where round-the-clock updates were provided through social media channels. Donors could track the teams’ minute-by-minute progress via live GPS and Twitter updates.

Both Faisal and Awab have independently shared that the misery and despair of the flood victims was far more tragic than they could ever imagine.

Faisal Kapadia says that he can’t shake the image in his mind of young children chasing him as he tossed water from a moving truck. The truck was moving at least 30 kilometres per hour, but he couldn’t slow down. Mobs of hundreds have pounced on aid workers delivering food or water. “It somehow gives the impression that these are greedy people,” said Awab Alvi. “But it’s not greed. It’s desperation.”

The OffroadPakistan team is planning their 8th relief  mission on September 26 to Moro in order to provide medical relief.

The increased influx of patients from Dadu in combination with the IDPs already in the area have put a heavy strain on the existing resources in Moro. There is an immediate need for medical support. A Karachi-wide appeal has been issued to the medical community requesting volunteer support. For information, or to sign-up as a medical volunteer, visit SA Relief here.

In addition, the team has launched a campaign to rebuild the Shikarpur Civil Hospital. Watch the video presentation by Dr Awab Alvi here.

The writer is a freelance journalist based in Lahore. He writes on History, Political Economy and Literature. Follow him on Twitter