On return after our first relief effort to Sukkur two weeks back we had several meetings amongst the core group of volunteers adopting a long term medical relief and rehabilitation strategy, however during the subsequent week we continued to receive urgent demands for help emanating from many of the inundated villages of Sukkur and Shikarpur
Thus in response to these pleas we embarked yet again on the 21st of August with a convoy of 8 trucks laden with relief goods of which seven were carrying relief hampers while one carried the load of a hundred tents accompanied by their donor. The convoy consisted of 7 cars and we made our way to Sukkur at around 5 pm passing through Hyderabad and Kotri which was slowly becoming inundated with flood water as the water levels had considerably increased since our first relief mission a week earlier.
Our staging area & warehouse was arranged by Taimur Mirza through the local MNA Agha Taimur located on the main Shikarpur – Sukkur link road. We immediately offloaded our seven trucks of relief goods into this warehouse and with the help of the U.N coordination center in Sukkur dispatched the 100 tents to a PAF-managed IDP relief campsite on the Sukkur Bypass road
The first night a few of our volunteers oversaw the construction of the 100 tents in the PAF enclave in an organized manner, the slow process continued the next three days and we ensured our constant presence at the site ensuring the construction to our total satisfaction. Returning home late that night to our accommodations in Sukkur we hit the bed immediately preparing to start early the next day for distribution with the help of smaller hired datsuns pick-ups. The reason for taking datsuns was because the larger trucks could not be taken into the deeper areas of Essani, and other inundated villages which were being pointed out by the accompanying leader
We left at 9am the next morning and after a short recon of the areas we were planning on distributing in, set off in two teams one led by Atif Ashraf and the other by Awab Alvi to different villages totally inundated by water, this place has been so remote that no food had reached for a couple of days, we were greeted with eager people anxious to get this aid and it is our estimate that we may have been successful in providing relief to over 500 families waiting in desperation.
Next we liaised with three NGO’s, first is a Karachi based school organization called Reflections who has rented houses in order to provide shelter in Shikarpur and Sukkur housing a large number of pregnant women and their children and are definitley doing a splendid job on the ground, We also liaised with an NGO called Hands who is running quite a number of tent-cities around Kandkot, Jacobabad, Larkana, Shikarpur and Sukkur. The third NGO also is a Karachi based organization run by a few Karachi based architects called Karachi Relief Trust. All three organizations were thoroughly evaluated by us and were seen to be doing a genuine hard work on the ground and dservedly needed to be supported, we then dispatched a sizable quantity of relief hampers into their camps sites to augment their depleting food resources.
After accounting for these relief distribution we still had two datsuns full of relief supplies and three datsuns worth of water bottles left for handing out. We ran a few sorties of water-bottle distribution along the highway passing these out to many thirsty people who under the scorching sun on roads of Shikarpur
While doing water sorties the day earlier one of our team members Rehan Bandukda helped identify a school run by SSG&C, they had 1600 registered IDP families inside in squalid conditions. We visited this establishment with 2 datsuns of water and two datsuns of food hampers, we also had over 700 packets of ready to eat sheermal, milk and khajur packets all of which was quickly picked up by the residents of this camp.
As this distribution in schools was going on, two of our team members Nabil Jangda and Atif Ashraf seeing the dilapidated conditions in the area also ordered fresh cooked of dal and roti packets for 700 people which we then continued to distribute till 5pm despite our planned departure at 2pm which would have allowed us to traverse the National Highway during the daylight hours, but this last minute distribution had us running late, we finally got done by 5pm and headed for Karachi reaching home by 11:30 pm. Reaching safe and sound, this last minute decision to feed another 700 people was well worth the inconvenience
As expected the on ground difficulties included extreme heat (48-50C) and a fluid situation of refugees settlements and their needs forced us to improvise on the ground practically making us come up with a new strategy at every puzzle. Gladly we had the mettle to make this happen on the spot. The overall security situation was also a lot riskier then we faced last week, in Sukkur as we were one of the first people to arrive back then, the towns are now littered with rioters, professional con men posing as NGO’s as well as political misfits of every variety out to make a fast buck. By the grace of god I am happy to claim we negotiated the various pitfalls with success. We may have stumbled but we did not fall!!
Our future plans are now being formulated and should revolve around supporting some genuine aid teams working on the ground in a long term basis augmenting with medical and rehabilitation requirements which we can possibly address