Dr. Awab Alvi, a member of Offroad Pakistan, a 4×4 adventure group, tells us how they have helped the flood affected in the Sindh region of Pakistan. They have refurbished a pediatric ward and are looking for volunteer doctors and a constant supply of medicine to maintain the ward
OffroadPakistan team would like to thank Nishat Welfare Organization [A. Sattar Ishaqani] and Naari Development Organization [Dr Meher Zaidi] for helping us to distribute over 1000 winter clothes hampers in the regions of Dadu and Juhi. The OffroadPakistan was able to identify the need to supply flood relief to Dadu [Nishat Welfare Organization] and also in Juhi [Naari Development Organization] in both places we were able to send winter clothes, kitchen utensils, food and water for families housed in these areas. Pictures are followed
An interview of mine published on TEDBlog on Friday November 5th 2010, just sharing it here for reference. This interview also included a new interactive feature for TEDFellows facebook page where a question was put up for discussion, the question asked from this interview was “Why do you think there’s a lack of media coverage about what’s going on in Pakistan, and how do you think we should change it?”
For years, orthodontist Awab Alvi has been an outspoken political activist via his blog, Teeth Maestro. With the onset of disastrous flooding in his native Pakistan this July, Awab traveled to the front lines, delivering food and supplies to flood victims. Though the after effects of the floods have caused personal family tragedy, Awab’s fierce love for and faith in his country make him optimistic about the future.
In a very interesting email sent out to Pakistanis in North American the Pakistani Embassy in the United States of America at Washington DC has invited people for a fashion show by Deepak Parwani of which 90% of the proceeds will go towards flood relief, but in an interesting use of words it seems the negative perception of a total lack of trust in the Government of Pakistan in collecting funds exhibits itself in seemingly a desperate attempt to ensur that people come and be a part of the event – they categorically wrote in their email “no portion of the proceeds will go to the Government Pakistan”
It is with a very heavy heart that I share this medical alert, my Father-in-Law Mr. Ghulam Mustafa Khalid passed away on Friday 22nd October 2010 after having been infected with a very rare form of fungal meningitis known as Naegleria Fowleri. He was admitted into the hospital with symptoms of meningitis, but over the next few days suffered from Primary Amoebic Meningoencephalitis which is widespread destruction of the brain tissues caused by the bacteria to have finally having succumbed within the week.
Naegleria Fowleri, also known as the “brain-eating amoeba” is a bacteria typically found in warm water, such as ponds, lakes, rivers and hot springs. It is also found in soil, near warm water discharges of industrial plants, and also can exist in under-maintained or minimally chlorinated swimming pools, though there is no evidence of this amoeba found in ocean water. It is most potent in warm water anywhere above 42°C, at this temperature where it actively reproduces transmits and thrives on brain tissue, while it is known to go in a state of hibernation in cooler temperatures awaiting better conditions.
Just a follow up on the Shikarpur Pediatric Ward, Umair Jaffer prepared a short PDF file on the before and after pictures of the work done at the Shikarpur pediatric ward as a collaborative effort between OffroadPakistan and CDRS-Shine Humanity. The older three wards were revamped by OffroadPakistan and we also took the burden of setting up and stocking the free medical dispensary, CDRS team took the initiative of setting up two brand new wards nearby, seeing these pictures one does get a proud feeling, that with proper team work we can seriously make a difference
A team of offroadpakistan headed to Shikarpur this last weekend to oversee the restoration of the Pediatric Ward at the Civil Hospital Shikarpur, Khalid Omar and Sabiha Omar represented us for the four days to supervise the total cleanup and painting of the three existing wards which included repair of the existing beds, the installation of insecutors in each of the wards and the cleaning up of the lavatories in the building, amongst a host of other things. They also oversaw the setup of the medical dispensary which is to provide free medicines for the patients for the next three to six months. Some of the older pictures can be seen here while our video appeal can be watched here
I stumbled across this briliant document prepared by Dr. Shehla Baqi and her associates, they been doing outstanding flood relief in the region from the start and have drafted this document which can truly serve as a survival guide to managing and running a medical camp in the flood affected region of Pakistan. I must thank the Dr. Shahla, the Infections disease society of Pakistan and the various co-authors for taking the time to prepare this amazing document and be willing to share it publicly for the greater good. The original document in DOC, PDF & TXT format can be downloaded from Scribd under a Creative Commons, Attribution-NonCommercial license
Buddies Without Borders (BWB) is an initiative by Concerned Pakistani Americans to spread awareness about the dire flood disaster in Pakistan and the need to continue to help the needy through the collective power of children. The essence behind the initiative is that children are not bound by borders, cultures, religion and language. They are simply children and when they see other children, they only think of them as children. They hope to spread the message through this touching video across the world. Watch and be touched by the wonderful message. Please also visit their website to donate, all proceeds from this video shall be donated towards the flood affected victims
A very urgent appeal was emailed by Zulfiqar Shah of Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research [PILER] to a number of mailing lists appealing for help in preventing the forcible eviction of over 10,000 flood affected IDP’s from their camp in Karachi… In my opinion there might seem to be an ulterior political motive to shove them out of Karachi – for the sake of Humanity this must stop – CAN YOU HELP – the message reads as follows,
This is an urgent appeal for your immediate intervention to save flood affected families from forcible eviction.
- About 10,000 flood affected people got settled at Labour Square camp in Gulshan- e- Maymar Karachi. This is a government recognized camp.
- Last week local revue official (Mukhtiarkar) made an announcement that people should evacuate camp within one week otherwise they will be forcibly evacuated by 5th October;
- This resulted in protest by affected people and smaller level scuffle between revenue officials, affected people etc;
- On last Sunday, Al- Khair Trust stopped supply of food and to our information many families are sleeping hungry. We can only bring 20 children to PILER centre for lunch today as they had not eaten for last two days. They aged 4 to 12 years;
- Food supply of the camp was initiated by Sylani Welfare Trust, run by liberal and moderate people but surprisingly this was replaced with Al Khair Trust, run by hard core religious people;
- Flood affected families with women, children were in fear, many of them without food for last two days but now worst has came in the shape of threat of eviction;
- By the time I write this mail ( 13: 50 PM / Tuesday 5th October), five to six police vehicles along with lady police have reached to camp and many of camp residents rushed to us crying that they are being forcibly evacuated. “My village Mirpur Buriro in District Jacobabad is still under water, please go and see; where we can go? Its cruelty to evict us” Says Muzafar, a young resident of camp.
It’s surprising that the government wants to evict these people. It’s equally surprising that this camp is not in a school that government want vacated to reopen school. This camp is in an empty building which was empty for last 3 years and there is no problem if it run additional 3 months.
Government had not given any indication of such an eviction initially. It has only came up with the idea a few days ago. It’s likely that these people will be forcibly evicted and this may result in another catastrophe for them.
Please intervene and do whatever you can do to stop this eviction.
Zulfiqar Shah, PILER
021 3 6351145-7
Only three weeks earlier on our 5th Flood Relief mission to Shikarpur the OffroadPakistan stumbled across the Pediatric Ward at Civil Hospital in Shikarpur, the moment we saw the dilapidated situation it touched a nerve in practically each one of our team members and in unison decided to adopt this facility to bring it to some respectable standard of care. In the effort to draw attention to the facility and with the hope of raising funds from the international donor base, Faisal Kapadia and I recorded a plea for help, and shared it with the world highlighting the horrendous situation of the 100 or so kids stuffed in 3 rooms in miserable state.
We were confident that with our generous donors and a growing flood relief fund we could seriously contemplate on adopting this location and make an impact on the lives of these precious children. The only deterrent was a serious concern about rampant pilferage and corruption tarnishing the entire effort primarily the long distance from Karachi would prevent direct supervision in any long term sustainable way. Quite by chance during our relief mission to Shikarpur we were joned by Umair Jaffer, who had come from Islamabad in an attempt to assite in some medical relief camp in Shikarpur and Jacobabad, he happened to join our team and also happened to accompany our team to the hospital. Setting the wheels in motion upon our return to Karachi the project was spearheaded by a veteran offroader Taimur Mirza who initiated a series of detailed brainstorming sessions trying to figure out a way on how to pull this trick off, in the mean time Umair overstayed in Shikarpur and undertook a detailed evaluation to write a 10-odd page project proposal and feasibility to pitch CDRS [Comprehensive Disaster Response Services run by Todd Shea] for a new pediatric ward in the Civil Hospital seperate from the old location, Umair has been working with CDRS since the earthquake days some five years back and spoke highly of their commitment to helping alleviate the suffering in Pakistan
Regardless of their many other differences on post-flood scenarios – people, government, NGOs and the political parties are at least principally unanimous on two basic counts. That the ordinary people of Pakistan have received a dismal treatment for the past sixty three years and that here is an opportunity to make amends. Intentions of rehabilitation, reconstruction and rebuilding are likely to dominate our post-flood vocabulary. How these terms are understood and subsequently transcribed into action could determine if Pakistan will emerge from this deluge as a transformed society or simply continue on its path of medieval backwardness and misery.
The much needed post flood activities may be broadly divided into two categories. Those that revolve around brick and mortar and those that are shaped by minds, hearts, attitudes and empowerment. The first category of tasks essentially fall in the government’s domain. These are largely infrastructural in nature and relate to reconstruction of roads, waterways, embankments, dykes, irrigation schemes, housing, damaged schools, healthcare centres and miscellaneous government structures. The government will surely undertake these tasks but the quality of the job done would not far exceed the quality of its doers. Those who can do nothing about the already closed 7000 plus schools (only in one province) will be able to do few miracles for another 10,000 schools that have been devastated by the punishing waters. There is thus alarge window of opportunity for the civil society, the NGOs and the philanthropic organisations, if they really wish to make a difference to come forward with innovative approaches that go far beyond the realm of reconstruct. The greatest need lies in the areas of reform, socio-economic restructuring and empowerment, that could forever change the lives of the masses.
Faisal Kapadia compiles a short video of our Medical Camp at Moro – Mission #8. I too am surprised at the impressive impact we have had on the flood relief
PK RELIEF STATS:
- 8 relief missions,
- 47,500 people given with 5-days of food,
- 25,000 people fed with ready to eat food,
- 480 families provided with tents,
- 1500 families given clothes hampers &
- 1000 people treated in our one day medical camp
The Offroadpakistan team this week embarked on a medical relief mission to Moro and Dadu. The plans for a Medical camp had been taking place since the start of the flood effort, but our initial focus was on providing food and shelter as in the first phase of the disaster that was the basic need of the victims, by the last trip few trips it had become clear that the initial impact of the flood is now beyond us, water had started to stagnate and recede and it was now imperative to refocus our strategy and aim on providing medical relief in the same areas.
Our plan was to concentrate on organizing a medical camp, but felt the need to also cater to food and clothes so effort was made to prepare 1000 food hampers, 1100 clothes hampers [which contained one shalwar kameez for men, one three-piece suit for women, one pair of clothes for boys and one more pair of clothes for girls, two soap suds for clothes washing, two for personal hygiene soaps, a womens hygiene kit, a small hand fan and a few other items all packed by a brilliant team of women], we had also arranged for 120 cartons of medicines acquired for roughly for the cost of Rs. 3 lac, compared to the budget set out for our medical camp, we were able collect massive quantity of medicines as our pharmaceutical help cam from Ehsan Awan of Nawan Labs who personally saw the acquiring of generic low cost drugs for the same aliments, truly helping us target a larger number of people within the same allocated budget. Our guestimate was to have enough drugs to cater to at least 500 patients during the medical camp.