The flood disaster in Pakistan is the largest catastrophe ever faced by the world in recorded history. An area the size of England came under water displacing 20 million people so far. One of areas affected by the flood is Khairpur, in Sindh province. Khairpur was a Sovereign State annexed by Pakistan in 1955.
Our flood relief effort began as a personal act of Prince Mehdi Raza Talpur, (son of the last Talpur sovereign). As soon as the displaced people began entering the Khairpur region, he decided to help. A small 29 member team including doctors, was formed with the friends and staff of the prince. Funds were provided for the purchase and distribution of food and medicine. Rather than remain stationary like most NGO’s and expect the homeless to come to us we decided to find and help them wherever they are. We are helping with a mobile roadside clinic which provides free first aid medicine, food and clothing to the refugees.
The team was first sent out on the 7th of August with the instructions to join and assist other aid groups. However, over the course of the first three days of the mission it was observed that wherever the team visited, it was the only source of aid that the affectees had encountered since their displacement. While other groups must have been engaged in welfare activity, their apparent absence is probably due to the sheer number of the homeless millions.
There were thousands, walking for days in water. They and their children had not eaten for days and suffer from various illnesses, such as skin diseases, Cholera, Diarrhoea, Gastroenteritis, Malaria, respiratory diseases, snake bite etc. Many are still starving.
While originally our team was intercepting only those refugees on the roadside and edge of the flooded zones we soon began to attend to those who found some sort of temporary shelter as well. Many have still not found any form of shelter especially due to a shortage of tents. Those who have found shelter in tent cities or are camped inside school buildings etc. are not better off. We have found that whereas those on the superhighway can beg for their needs from the passing traffic, many in the camps have been given a tent and then abandoned to their fate. Some starving and thirsty, while others, especially children, dying of easily curable illnesses, while their parents watched