Amid the “climate carnage,” of the devastating floods in Pakistan, stories of human endurance & heroism are emerging – from emergency workers to ordinary people
Acres and acres of land is inundated by the floods in Pakistan, with one-third of Sindh (area and population) affected by the devastating floods. More than 1400 lives have been lost and 33 million are directly impacted. Many have lost their homes and everything they owned. Livestock and fields of crops have been wiped out. They have no food, no drinking water, no shelter. They are at increased risk of waterborne diseases, dengue and malnutrition. They have no access to health or education facilities. Life as they knew it has been snatched from them.
In the words of the United Nations Secretary-General, “It’s not about numbers. It’s about people, about the farmers that have lost their crops, about those that have lost members of their family, about those that have seen their houses destroyed, about those that have lost their cattle, about those that have no money to pay the loans that they have contracted to be able to plant. It was these people that each one of you was rescuing, helping to escape these horrible floods.”
“I come here to serve my people; this is my passion.” – Dr Sumeira Abasi
Dr. Sumeira Abasi, a field medical officer in Larkana, Sindh, had been coming to the Taluka Headquarter hospital since the flooding began, and being a mother of three, she lamented that the situation was challenging for her. Even though her home was far and she had to travel through the flood waters that entered inside the rickshaw she travelled in, her spirits were not dampened. There was a time when her own home was flooded, but she did not stop and continued to meet the health care needs of the flood victims within the limited means available to her. As she put it: “I come here to serve my people; this is my passion.”
“I rescued about three hundred people” - Mr. Muhammad Shifa Arijo
When the ruthless floods hit Larkana, Muhammad Shifa Arijo, Secretary of Union Council Anwar Adab, Larkana, fearlessly and selflessly rushed to help people. He had risked his own life rescuing some 300 people from slums that had been in the path of the raging floodwaters, and subsequently helping to move them to Quaid-e-Awam Engineering University using boats. He had also been given the responsibility of delivering food each day to hundreds of people affected by the floods.
Dr. Abasi and Arijo and many others like them, speak of the enormous courage, generosity and solidarity that people have shown during this time of extreme crisis. The mammoth floods were relentless in their destruction, yet these brave men and women went above and beyond and provided timely help, saving hundreds of lives.
They need the help of everyone across the world. The world needs to respond with assistance for these innocent people suffering the consequences of a climate change induced catastrophe that they hardly contributed to.