Further impressions from Sukkur

by Judith Kühl,  2010/08/31

The city is crowded and stuffy. People, whole families are walking around, carrying small bags over their shoulders which contain their entire belongings. Besides the cars and motorbikes, overcrowded and loudly hooting busses are trying to force their way through the narrow streets of Sukkur. A bed is standing in the middle of the street – a person lying in it. Loud hooting causes absolutely no reaction.

In the south of Pakistan, brackish water is still standing in the streets. Photo: humedica/Judith Kühl

The old man is sleeping soundly. Nobody knows how long he has had to do without sleep when fleeing from the water, and how much strength the disaster has taken out of him so far. The vehicles are channelling their way around him.

Simple wooden beds are standing not only in the smaller streets, but also by the side of larger roads. There are also carpets lying on the floor, which people use to sleep on. Children are running around excitedly, despite the exhausting heat. Car drivers do not care and pass the children with high speed.

There are so many children everywhere. I do not know their names, but every face touches my very heart. Large eyes, some wondering, some laughing. Emergency camps made up of tents have been set up in many places. But they are not enough. Families have set up simple makeshift tents using old beds and sheets.

Or they simply lie down on their sheets in the shade of a tree. There is no central supply of water, food or drugs.

After the past few weeks during which they have suffered incredible sorrow and loss, the people seem exhausted. In Sukkur, 300.000 in 700.000 inhabitants have been affected directly by the flood.

Since the city is located directly at the river Indus, the flood has in particular destroyed large parts of the city’s outskirts. Water is still standing in most of these areas. When the flood arrived, the people ran for their lives. Parents lost their children, children lost their parents. Many died during the flight from the water

Coordinator Simon Gelzenleuchter has already been confronted with incredible misery in Pakistan. Photo: humedica/Judith Kühl

I often have the impression that the people are to weak to cry for help. During the day, they lie on their sheets almost motionlessly; amidst the traffic and the hustle and bustle of the city. Most of them have nothing left apart from the clothes they have been wearing for weeks. They cannot wash, because they do not have any change of clothes.

Numerous children have lost their shoes and run around on bare feet. It is a silent cry for help. People get active in the evening or at night, when the sun no longer burns down. They look for help in the dark. They do not have access to electricity.

Other people cry for help in panic. They resort to a loud reaction, since they are afraid that they will not get enough or nothing at all. Due to looting and the tendency to violence, it is difficult to organise distributions of relief goods.

Some of the people are irritated by the presence of relief organisations from the western world. They have never before seen so many foreigners in their city and often they do not seem to know whether our intentions are benign or malign. Everyone seems so desperate. Who are they supposed to trust in, if day by day they receive no or insufficient help?

Our partners, Kindernothilfe and the local organisation “The Riverside Project” are already strongly committed in the city. At one school, children receive two meals a day. There have also been distributions of clothes to women and children.

A small medical team is also active. One single team, however, is not able to treat the large amount of patients. It is the children in particular who suffer from skin diseases, diarrhoea and, in individual cases, from snake bites. Malaria has also been diagnosed. We support this on-site work and plan to expand the commitment over the next few weeks with help of our team.

Dear friends of humedica: please continue supporting our relief efforts.

You can send a text message containing the reference DOC to +49 8 11 90 and contribute a donation of 5 euros, with 4.83 euros of this amount being directly channelled into our project work. Please also donate for the flood victims in Pakistan via our online form, or choose the traditional way of supporting us by transferring your donation to the account below:
      humedica e.V.
      Donation reference "Flood relief Pakistan"
      Account 47 47
      Bank Code 734 500 00
      Sparkasse Kaufbeuren

Thank you very much!

Desperation is tangible in severely affected cities such as Sukkur. Photo: humedica/Simon Gelzenleuchter

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