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
It seems we are finally off on our mission to provide relief to the flood affected region in Sukkur, Sindh. The OffroadPakistan has collected some significant funding for taking 6 trucks of relief good valued at more then Rs. 2.4 Million – four trucks of standardized basic food valued at Rs. 16,80,000, one truck containing a mixture of food hampers acquired from Makro at a cost of Rs. 4,43,585 and the sixth truck laden with tents and water bottles valued at Rs. 6,75,000. We are also trucking 250 1-kg tin cans of read-to-eat biryani generously donated by a friend of ours. We are not taking any medicine, but hope to concentrate on a medical relief later. The cost of trucking is approximately Rs. 25,000 per truck and im sure there shall be incidentals in between for this transportation process
IIt must be remembered that all this is the effort of quite a lot of people and the generous contribution of Pakistanis wanting to help their fellow citizens who are suffering in these devastated areas. We as representatives of OffroadPakistan are headed towards Sukkur hoping to distribute three trucks there while our friends at MotorSports Club of Pakistan shall accompany three trucks with an attempt to approach Jacobabad and hope to disburse it there.
Our plans are that we do plan for a phase 2 of the relief effort which we hope shall be a larger and grander push, this first trip shall serve as a reconnaissance trip for the bigger push in 10-12 days after this.
With so much of confusion in the area we are hoping to do our best, to keep track of our progress I have installed a GPS tracker on my Blackberry which will transmit our location every 60 seconds, it will be a drain on the battery but it shall remain on as long as Mobilink service supports GPRS in the area.
The past seven days Faisal Chohan a TEDFellow has been feverishly working to establish an incident reporting website at http://pakrelief.crowdmap.com/ to monitor the flooding situation in Pakistan. This is technically a Ushahidi platform connected to an SMS shortcode allowing people with cell phones to give live updates of issue on the ground. Ideally this incident reporting portal should then be used by humanitarian relief organizations to adequately divert resources where needed.
To submit an incident all you need to do is sto end message Type FL “Your needs/ situation/emergency” and send it to FL 3441. It will cost the user Rs. 2.00 per message. You can also send the report to email@example.com or fill out this incident reporting form on the website. After proper verification of the incident which may even mean calling the incident reporter back it shall be shared with the world. Read more about his effort at the TED Fellows Blog. He is slowly ironing out the bugs with tremendous cooperation from the International community of technologists and an amazing team on the ground in Pakistan.
One often wonders how a country run by a bunch of total lunatics can be expected to perform a reasonable job when confronted with a natural disaster. It may be a harsh generalisation, but Pakistan suffers far more seriously at the hands of bureaucratic pencil-pushers during natural disasters, while millions of Good Samaritans chip in to provide relief in a far more organised and generous way than the very people they have voted into power.
In recent times, we have had our fair share of natural and man-made disasters and each has left a lasting scar. By the grace of God we have somehow managed to pull through, but I often wonder if we had been better prepared would we have been able to save even one more life from the hundreds that lay at our feet?
Over the past two days our team of volunteers at Motorsports Club of Pakistan and the OffroadPakistan have been in some intense discussion on what might be the best course of action. We have been busy raising funds locally and commitments have reached to a tune of close to Rs. 2.5 million. The online drive at SARelief has touched $2278 from a few generous donors, as the message spreads im sure this easy PayPal payment option, so close to the Islamic month of Ramadan will most likely get a considerable level of funding for the devastation in Pakistan.
Flood has started to reach Sindh from the last two days, the winding Indus river which curves and twists across Sindh is likely to significantly change the terrain for a long time to come, it is anticipated that with the immense pressure of the water it is definite that the water will overrun the pre charted course of the Indus River and alter its embankments cutting a new course towards the sea spreading its wings wide across the plains of Sindh in its due course.
A few major concerns do remain, the question that lurks in the minds of many, will the barrages hold up. It seems the Sukkur barrage is as of now holding strong, credit can be equated to calculated and unplanned rupture of a few embankments upstream which have helped soften the pressure of the main flood, these leaks will continue to seep the pressure and lessen the impact in sindh, sadly it also does mean more flooding in the affected areas.
The earthquake’s that have hit Pakistan in 2005 and 2008 were regarded as the worst tragedy for the nation. Few have realized that the recent floods have in fact caused more damage then those earthquake’s did. As per latest reports official figures stand at 1600 dead and 12 million left homeless.
The Monsoon rains began two weeks ago and have washed away roads, bridges and communications lines, hampering rescue efforts by aid organizations and the government. The downpours have grounded many aircraft trying to rescue people and ferry aid, including six helicopters manned by US troops on secondment from Afghanistan.
Currently 30,000 Pakistan Army troops are busy in rescue and relief efforts. Where as the Earthquake of 2005 and 2008 and the IDP crisis were devastating, unlike the Flooding they were contained within a geographic area. Flooding has been reported from Kyhber-Pakthunkwa all they way down to Southern Punjab and Sindh. There is only so much the government and the armed forces can do in the face of such a massive disaster and so we as citizens have undertaken the mantle of trying to add our little drop to the ocean
To that end, we have decided to take up relief efforts to the areas of Sindh in an attempt to help bring relief to the suffering. The idea is initially to partner with a team of who is willing to take the relief goods up. We hope to launch such an intiative with Motorsports Club of Pakistan and our very own OffroadPakistan group to some part of Sindh and personally deliver the goods there. To help our international donors we have partnered with SA Relief operating under the aiegus of Paksef a US Tax-deductible 501(c)(3) NGO registered in California to enable our US based well wishers to contribute to the relief via Chipin and Paypal
The online collection is slated to run through out Ramazan to tap into the generous Zakat giving ability of Muslims around the world, ideally this would mean two missions, one from the cash funds collected personally in Karachi while the second mission will utilize the generous contribution from online donations. It is my personal promise that all funds collected will be disbursed off in a total transparent manner as possible, all recipts and travel expenditures will be posted online for the world to see. Like the IDP Relief effort we did in 2009 here, here
Donations can be made directly into Behbood Association Karachiaccount at Standard Chartered in Karachi. A/C#08-2315386-01 [PakRs] Swift Code SCBLPKKXXX or even online on the widget provided above which is processed via Paypal and these online contributions are being collected by PAKISTAN SCIENCE & ENGINEERING FOUNDATION a 501(c)(3) registered California based not-for-profit organization, EIN# 20-2950808. For info contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.