Vision21 Team visited the flood relief camps for the assessment of recent situation and need in the flood hit areas on 16th Sep 2010.
Our first point of stop was Charsadda. We visited a UNICEF & HRDS supported affectee’s camp in Meraprang Tehseel. This camp was sheltering nearly 232 families, who had fled from the nearby villages of Drabb Majoke and Faqiarabad. We met the camp incharge, Jawad Khan, who told us about the affectees. The people residing in the camps told us that 90% of the houses in those villages had been washed away. The living conditions in this camp were good as it was clean and had good WASH facilities. According to the affectees they had no major medical problems. However they complained about the non-systematic and irregular supply of food to them.
We visited their villages, which were near to the camp. Two of the local people accompanied to guide us towards the village. After a 10 minutes drive we were in Drabb Majoke. The village presented a sight of complete destruction. The houses and mosques were ruined. The children were roaming around the streets, which were now turned into an open flat ground. A group of the local people started gathering around as we walked into the village. They were all walking with us and telling us about the problems they have faced. They told us that what they need most at that time was the money and resources to rebuild their homes and go back to their work and rehabilitate themselves. They complained that no one from the Government has reached them. After we took a visit to the village we came back to drop the people to the camp and moved forward to visit other camps.
Our next stop was a free medical camp in Charsadda set up in a paper mill by Ummah Welfare Trust. It was a one bedded medical camp with one doctor and one female nurse. When we reached the camp it started raining. May be that was the reason that no affectees were around in the camp at that time. We met with the nurse who had been working in the camp for more than a month. She informed us that the affectees of nearby villages visited them and the OPD of the camp was near 400 among them most number was of female patients. She explained that the common diseases that people come up with were UTI, Eyes infection, skin infection, diarrhea and gastro. The nurse also told us about their main relief camp was in the Govt. Degree College Charsadda, where 6000 affectees were sheltered.
We moved forward to go to the main camp, which was near to the paper mill camp. We met with the camp managers there. The camp incharge told us that they were providing shelter and food to near 6000 affectees in that camp. They provided the dry ration packs containing the supply for a week and stoves to the families in their tents where they cooked for themselves. The Camp Incharge, Sardar Iftikhar also told us that UWT was planning for the rehabilitation of the flood victims in their next phase of relief work. The plan was to made the prefabricated two rooms houses for them. They told us that they were working on the plan. They also had another medical camp over there. The OPD in that camp was 300. They required medicine for UTI, diarrhea, eyes & skin infections. UWT was also running their relief camps in Muzaffargarh and Multan.
After Charsadda, we went to Nowshehra according our plan. On entering the Nowshera city, we observed that many of the camps and single tents on the roadside that we had visited during our first relief plan in August were not there as the people had moved back to their houses or main camps.
We stopped first at a khema basti of above 100 tents set up underneath the foothills at the roadside. The people residing in these tents were the affectees of Mohalla Zareenabad, which was just at the walking distance to their tent. The houses of the mohalla zareenabad were still flooded and partially submerged in water. The people in this camp complained majorly that no one was helping them. The camp incharge told that they were provided the tents and crockery in the start but after that they had been on their own to arrange for the food and their living needs. An old woman who also lived in zareenabad told us that her house was still drenched with water and the only source of their income was a Suzuki pickup, which had been damaged in the flood water and no one helped her taking that out of water. The people complained that the aid did not reach them. They are helpless. They told us that they needed food, clothes and bedding, because the autumn / winter season was due to start and they did not have any provisions for that.
On 17th September we set off for Muzafargarh at 630 am from Rawalpindi. We decided to take the route via Mainwali, Bhakkar and layyah. This is the eastern side of River Indus and we thought we may get a glimpse of damage inflicted along that way. On reaching Mianwali, we could see the pine tree still half covered in the flood water. The people on shops and Fuel stations near that also shown us the marks of the flood water till the mid of the walls. Mianwali is one of the districts where a large number of people are affected due to the floods. The affected population in Mianwali is reported to be more than 700000.
Along the way we came across another problem. About 60 kms form Muzaaffar garh we ran out of CNG. Apparently There is no CNG available between Bhakar and Muzaaffargarh . This is nearly 150 kms. We got a shock when we were told there was no petrol available as well. We literally had to beg one station manager to provide us a gallon of petrol which will atleast take us to Muzzaffafargarh. … Different reason were being given point into lack of supply form up and down country as well as washing out of local petrol refinery due to floods. After the scare we however finally managed to reach Muzafafrgarh at 3 pm.
In Muzaffargarh the first camp that we visited was the one set up by Al Khidmat foundation to collect the donations and aid items for the flood affectees. We met with the camp incharge, Arsgad Mehmood Lagharie, who briefed us about their relief camps and activities in Muzaffargarh. He told us that from the statistics they had gathered about the flood demages, near 63 union councils were washed out of the floods. He also told us about the other relief camps set up in Muzaffargarh. We then headed towards other camps.
The first camp we came across was the Falah-e-Insaniyat relief camp. There were 100 families sheltered there who have fled from Baseera, since the flood devastated their homes in the local villages. The trust was providing cooked food to the affectees daily. They had also set up a school for the children. The camp incharge, Fahadullah told us that there were 106 children registered in the school. They had hired two volunteer teachers from among the affectees living in that camp. The school was set up in the mosque and children were provided with the course books including English, Urdu, Islamyat, Maths, Science and Social Studies.
The camp also had a sewing centre for the women. The ‘Silai Centre’ had 5 sewing machines for the training of the women in the camp.
There was a medical camp set up at the entrance of the main camp. There was a rush of women and children in the medical camp. The doctor mohammad shafique told us that the common medical problems among the affectees were those of fever, skin and eyes infections and diarrhea.
The Falah-e-Insaniyat team working in the camp seemed quite coordinated and well informed about the relief activity.
After this we reached the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf [PTI] relief Camp where a large number of people were waiting for the distribution of cooked food at 5pm. The camp was called Thermal Colony camp.
We met with the workers of Tehreek-e-Insaaf at the camp. The Camp incharge who was also the general secretary of PTI in Muzaffargarh took us to the tent where he showed us the map of flood affected areas of Muzaffargarh and detailes about the demages the flood has caused. The information was quite organized as the camp Incharge explained to us through the map of the Muzaaffargah district about the areas affected and their relief camps in the districts. He told us that the total population in the tehsil jatoi, kot addu, alipur and muzaffargarh is 2635903. There were 11000 registered families with PTI relief camps in the district. He explained that Muzaffargarh, being in middle of both Indus and chanab is badly affected in the floods. He told us that the PTI had set up its 14 relief camps in kot addu, manawan, baseera, shah jamal, khan garh, shehr sultan and ali pur. PTI workers told us that they provided cooked food to the affectees daily at 5pm.
It is a sad commentary that in our visits we saw no activity of relief from the government. The affectees we talked to, also complained that no aid from government has reached them yet. Rather they have also taken their identity cards in hope of receiving aid and they did not get anything but mere promises. The NGOs and volunteer groups are much more visible and helping people in different ways. The problem is of the lack of coordination in relief activities. The slow response and miscoordination is the result of the lack of governance that is the major cause behind several problems that we face at present. The lack of governance and lack of preparedness to eliminate the risks of disasters has been exposed in the post flood scenario. The time has once again given the call to take this point as a new start and seeing the opportunity in this adversity to reconstruct and rebuild the country with a fresh zeal and in a better way.
In all the camps that we visited in Charsadda and Nowshehra, we have assessed the following needs in those camps:
Food: dry ration supply /ready to eat food on regular basis according to the basic nutrition rules. The food supply was either short or irregular. There is a need of proper assessment before the distribution of aid items.
Medical Care &Health: The medical condition in the camps we visited was comparatively better that the other things. The affectees were provided with medical treatment and medicine in almost all camps. However there was need of the medicine for skin and eyes infection, ORS for children and anti malarial medicines.
Clothing and bedding: as the winter season is due to start soon so there is need of warm clothes, and bedding for the affectees
Schools and skill centers: We have noticed during our visits that none of the camp had school & skill centre for the children and elders. There is also the need of setting up schools for children and training centers for the women and elders to empower them so that they can start helping themselves.
Clean Drinking Water: There is a need to arrange the proper sources of clean drinking water
Rehabilitation: No work for the rehabilitation has been done or started yet in the areas we visited. The work of reconstruction of their houses, roads, schools and infrastructure needs serious attention and will to be started for the timely rehabilitation of the flood victims.
After our assessment visit, we at Vision21 have made the following plan of action as the second phase for the relief of affectees:
1. Distribution of ration packs containing supply of food for two weeks to 250 families in Charsadda Meraprang Camp
2. Distribution of clothes and shoes to women, men and children in Meraprang camp in Charsadda
3. Distribution of clothes and shoes to men, women and children in Nowshehra Camp
4. Donation of medicine to the Ummah Welfare Trust in Charsadda
5. Registration of affectees in Charsadda and Nowshehra for the next phase of rebuilding houses and skill transfer plan of Vision21 as a third phase of flood relief