Pakistan has been hit by the most catastrophic floods in its history and conditions are getting worse by the minute. Large areas of Khyber Pakhtonkhuwa, Southern Punjab and Sindh have been destroyed. Millions have lost their loved ones, homes, crops and are left with nothing but the clothes on their back and their lives.
In such conditions how can we, the youth of the country remain quiet? With one fifth of the nation desolate and destroyed, it is up to us to take up the challenge of giving our people hope again. We, The Emerging Light Group, have been working in Multan in aid of the flood victims since August 7, 2010. We formed this group after attending the “Active Citizens Workshop” earlier this year. The workshop made us realize that we –the youth- has to work for the welfare of our communities and bring a change.
We started by going door to door to raise funds; collecting money, medicines, clothes and ration i.e. flour, ghee, surf, biscuits, soaps, match sticks and milk. Through the help of generous supporters, we were able to raise 2.5 lakh rupees and purchased additional medicines and edibles.
On 14 August, our Independence Day, we loaded the edibles (500 food packets) in a truck and set off to Muzaffergarh, Baseera and Sanawan.
What we saw there shook us to the core.
Acres of crops were destroyed, the flood water was 8 to10 feet high and people were forced to abandon their homes, half submerged in water. Children were crying in hunger, the old were sick and the women were desperately trying to save as many of their household items as possible. Their condition brought tears to our eyes.
Once we found a dry spot, we parked and began distributing the food packets amongst the people. Men, women and children rushed towards us appealing for help, some were begging and shouting, some were weeping, while others were praying to God. We distributed all the food packets we had, but felt awful for turning away those who came late after the stock was finished.
Our work, though, is not nearly done; the scenes we saw have been etched in our minds forever. My team and I were disturbed to see our brothers and sisters struggling to survive this colossal catastrophe and we want to help them as much as we can. So we are planning another trip to Muzzaffergarh with 1000 food packets this weekend.
I pray for strength, hope and for these hardships to ease soon. Till then we – The Active Citizens - will do whatever we can, using all our resources to aid our fellow countrymen.
By Farhan Siddiqui and Zoya Khan