Date: Muharram 10, 1444 AH (August 8, 2022)
Written by Iram Sammar
There is no other way to begin this blog, but to say thank you to all who have kindly contributed to the appeal for Balochistan.
Above, is a young man who crossed this body of flood water to collect his food parcel for his family. It was a difficult trek, however he told our volunteers that there are many on the other side who need help too. Our team of dedicated volunteers were humbled to see how much this small effort was needed and appreciated. Brother Ramzan told us that he sobbed when he saw young children patiently waiting for help to arrive, some playing and running around, others sitting with families on recovered charpais (beds/seats made traditionally). He explained how thankful and calm they were when the food arrived, even though some had not eaten a proper meal in days. He told us how they had lost their homes and belongings, where relocation was seen as a blessing. Together they prayed for all who sent their contributions – our thoughts and prayers are with them too.
The distinctive drainage basin of the Balochistan plateau is such that the following rivers form the nearby areas heavily impact flooding in the nearby villages. These rivers have confluences that join the Indus from west, which form the tributaries to the west – including the River Zhob and Gomal. The mouth of these rivers find their destination into the Arabian sea (River Hab, Porali, Hingol and Dasht). Some rivers such as River Mula, Bolan and Chakar drain into the Kachhi Sibi Plain. Below is the area our volunteers were able to distribute the food parcels to. The journey began at Jhal Magsi, after a three hour road trip from their own place of abode, Sohbatpur.
Each food parcel (see above) consists of items that a family would need to keep them nourished for at least a week – we tried to give more to larger families. A large truck was loaded with 90 food parcels and 54 large dhegs (pots) of rice. Each donation has been essential to this humble relief project. Below is an image of the food being cooked, as can be seen the wood fuel used to burn the stoves are all local and a short distance from the areas most affected from the floods.
Below is a young boy who cleverly made a raft with a converted charpai (hand-woven seat/bed) and two water drums. It is amazing how these youngsters have thought of innovative ways to help their families in times of difficulty. It was evident that the children were playful and full of life and hope, saying “Alhamduillah” (thanking God) for the help when it came. Many who lived on the opposite side of the river swam or sailed across to access the food parcels.
We were told that many families were living in open areas away from their original homes. There was a strong community presence where local women and men have come together to help each other take care of their children and the elderly. It was wonderful how our group of volunteers decided on the ground to distribute cooked food alongside the food parcels, especially as there is limited access to cooking facilities. Below are individually packed rice for people who had not eaten for days. Those who distributed the food are real heroes, as they quickly identified the state of emergency particularly with the number of vulnerable members of the communities, such as children and those who had a disability.
Unfortunately we were not able to raise as much as we had hoped, however with generous family and friends’ donations we are continuously sending funds to keep the food distribution going. If you are able to, this is an ongoing project so please do donate here.
Again, our volunteers thought to distribute sweets to the children, as they deserve the luxury of childhood – the joy of unwrapping a small sweet brought tears to one of our volunteers eyes, he said, “to see the children react to seeing the sweets was the highlight of our long journey to get to them. The roads were blocked and our journey was harsh, but worth it.” Living in so-called advanced/developed nations such as the UK detaches us from our natural instinct to exercise gratitude. When we think of our own children, we often want the latest gadgets and fresh food on the table (on time), however, true humanity is to want for other children what one would want for their own. Below are other items such as juices and water bottles, due to the intense heat these were kept cool with ice.
The aim of this blog has been to show you how small efforts can mean so much to people who need care and love right now. If we look at this world and its inhabitants as important and worth being there for, then we can grow and connect with each other – locally and globally. Salaam Geographia was set up to not only to explore geography as a subject, but to live it through bringing people and communities together, so we can get to know each other. Thank you.