In the summer of 2022, severe floods caused by the prolonged monsoon season struck Pakistan causing devastation and loss of countless lives. In view of the scale and long-term impact of the disaster, immediate humanitarian efforts were not enough to meet the growing needs of the affected population, and further support was needed. The Amity Foundation closely monitored the situation with great concern whereas Amity Foundation Hong Kong (Amity HK) kept the communication channel open with other local Hong Kong agencies about possible response plans. Amity HK lost no time in setting up an appeal on the AlipayHK mobile charity platform, calling on the Hong Kong public to make donations and enable relief operations for the flood-affected people in Pakistan.
From late August 2022, Amity and Community World Service Asia (CWSA) maintained frequent communication for ground situation updates and fact-finding to prepare for collaborated humanitarian actions. By September 2022 Amity was ready to apply for the Disaster Relief Fund of the Hong Kong government with a need-based relief project.
After detailed assessments, CWSA and Amity Foundation partnered in shaping up a project to provide essential relief items to people in Kot Ghulam Muhammad, which was one of the most affected tehsils of Mirpurkhas District of Sindh Province.
Taking accessibility, availability issues, and local capacity into consideration, the Amity-CWSA joint project distributed mosquito nets, hygiene kits, and tarpaulin to over of 19,204 households representing over 127,270 vulnerable people of Kot Ghulam Muhammad Tehsil, Mirpurkhas District, from November 2022 to March 2023. As many places were inundated, the CWSA frontline workers even had to take boats to reach their intended destinations.
These supplies proved vital in the prevention of diseases such as dengue fever and malaria in the aftermath of the floods, as recounted by Mr. Lakpatra, an agricultural worker whose family was left displaced after his village of Hasan Dhonkai was destroyed by the floods:
“We had nothing left, not even the walls of my home remained. The returnees had no means of rebuilding their lives or their homes. This is when Community World Service Asia and its partners came to support us. With the support of Amity Foundation, we were provided an assortment of supplies to ensure our good health and well-being as we began to restore and rebuild their lives.“
Each household was given a tarpaulin sheet, 2 mosquito nets and a hygiene kit which included laundry and bath soaps, dental hygiene items, mosquito repellent, towels, underwear, sanitary pads and a water bucket. The supplies were chosen to help the villagers protect themselves from diseases and unhygienic conditions.
“We used the tarpaulin sheet as a shelter over our heads for almost three months. It helped us during the time that we were rebuilding our home because that sheet was our only salvation while living under the open sky. While we were living in a make-shift tent on the higher grounds, our children did suffer from malaria and dengue fever because of the surrounding stagnant water. After our return to our village and receiving the kits, we have been taking good care of our health and hygiene.”
Mr. Lakpatra now visits the city every day to find daily work and earn a living.
“It was only this month that we lit the stove of our home after five months because we had no roof over our heads. We know that the rain might find its way back to us, but this time we have a means of survival. If we have to evacuate again, we will still have the tarpaulin sheet that we can use to make a tent out of and live in”.
A year after the floods, Pakistan continues to rebuild and recover with the help of domestic and international aid as the next monsoon season looms in the distance. Disasters such as the Pakistan floods serve as constant reminders of how suddenly and heavily tragedy could strike, and how humanity is constantly at the mercy of mother nature. International solidarity, public awareness and collaborative action in the face of disaster and adversity are more important now than ever before.