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Posts Tagged ‘Food for the Hungry’

Two children outside an FH shelter in Malik Ibrahim
Malik Ibrahim is far from any large settlements, and was not reached for many weeks as floods swept through Pakistan. FH, with our local partner Interfaith League Against Poverty, started distributions of crucial supplies there about a week ago, and I was there to see it.

Houses made only of mud bricks have been swept away, literally dissolving in the flood water. When they lose their homes, people not only lose shelter but also the central location in their lives. They cannot cook for themselves, or care for their families.
FH beneficiaries take away shelter, hygiene, and tool kits for their family on their donkey cart
We are distributing hygiene kits; kitchen kits to allow them to cook for themselves; tarps, bamboo and nails to let them build new shelter; and water-cleaning supplies to help them filter or purify the now-stagnant water which is the only thing they have to drink.
Children in Malik Ibrahim with a simple water filter in their home
When I arrived a distribution was ending, having reached another 200 families. A few yards away the families who had received kits a few days before had put up their shelters and were using their hygiene kits. Children played between the tents. In a few homes, new simple water filters sat attached to their buckets. The sun beat down, and it was good to see that these children would not have to quench their thirst by drinking from the standing water which lapped behind a mud barrier a few feet high just outside the village.

FH’s manager on the ground in Malik, Saleh Uddin, told me that a few days before a meeting had been held with a newly-formed local committee, educating the community about good health and sanitation practice. This is an important part of helping the helpless – not just those made homeless by the floods, but those who were powerless before. By engaging them, as well as local influential community figures in the decisionmaking process, we make them stakeholders in the change brought by lessons like these.

An FH Shelter next to a makeshift roof-and-no-walls cover made out of sticks

An FH shelter next to a makeshift roof-and-no-walls cover made out of sticks

Local people were engaged in their recovery from day one, moment one. Saleh Uddin writes ‘it was a really amazing day, to see local people participating like this’, and I saw the fruit of that just days later. It is so important, in recovery, to ensure that people, not provisions, are at the heart of the work. People must own their own recovery.

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FH is responding in Pakistan in collaboration with a local partner, Interfaith League Against Poverty, as well as Colorado Springs-based Engineering Ministries International. Below is an update written on September 9 by Scott Powell, PE, EMI’s Director of Disaster Response.

We just returned from a long drive out to one of the more remote and unreached communities in this disaster. After an irrigation canal sidewall failed, this community of more than 200 Muslim, Christian, and Hindu families was inundated with water over 30km from the Indus River. Most lost everything but their lives. They are set up on dry land, some 1,000 meters or so from their swamped village. “How long will it take for the waters to recede?” I asked. Six months, they estimated.

In a very encouraging meeting with village leaders and lookers-on, we took some time to listen to their true needs. Shelter and water were tops, followed by useful items and food stores that were lost in the flooding. In response to the clean water needs, we distributed some water filters we brought with us, and taught a few select individuals how to use and care for them. A small fleet’s worth of trucks loaded with shelter, hygiene, and kitchen kits will launch from Islamabad sometime next week to our location. By setting up a few simple water purification systems in the affected villages, EMI is laying a foundation of relationship in these communities to allow FH’s distribution of greatly-needed items to proceed without incident.

Thank you for your prayers that the flood waters would recede and that God would meet all the physical and spiritual needs of the people of Pakistan.

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Faimée at the CFS

This is the story of Faimée, a five-year-old little girl who attends the FH Haiti Child Friendly Space (CFS) in the Siloe neighborhood of Port-au-Prince.  She lost her leg during the January 12 earthquake.  The following is what she told me when I visited her and her family one Monday afternoon in Siloe.

“Before the earthquake, I helped my mother with chores at home.  I could wash the dishes, go to the street market to buy things for her, and also prepare meals.  I could walk to get water for the house when my mother needed it.”

Born June 4, 2005, Faimée is an only child.  She lives with her parents and her young uncle Tiga, whom she deeply loves.  She was at preschool before the earthquake.  January 12 she was at home watching television when the earth began to shake.

“I yelled a lot and then everything went black.  I couldn’t hear anything.”

Faimée spent two days under the rubble of her house before her mother and neighbors could pull her out.  She was in a coma for several days and when she woke up one of her legs was missing. “When I asked my mama about my leg, she began to cry.”  Her mother cried and couldn’t find the words to explain to her five-year-old daughter why her leg had to be amputated.

Her family lost their home and everything they owned. “I lost my dolls, my book bag, everything.”

Now Faimée and the rest of her family live in the street.  She was sad because she couldn’t return to school- her parents could not afford to pay the school fees for their little girl.  She had to lie down most of the time and she needed someone to take care of her.

One day Faimée joined a Child Friendly Space and began to benefit from the time she spent with her new friends there.  Now she can walk with crutches and participates in the CFS every day.  “Now, I can help my mother again.  The CFS is like school, but more fun.”

She was accepted by the other students and feels secure again.  Her favorite activities are singing and drawing. “I like the CFS because I can play many games and I see a lot of children every day.  They are my friends now.”

The presence of Faimée at the CFS is a blessing for the other students and teachers.  They learn to set aside their differences in order to help others.  “The children can become children again,” declared one volunteer.

Faimée carries the marks of the earthquake’s violence, but her eyes are full of hope.  “I want to be a doctor,” she says, smiling.

Faimée’s father works for FH Haiti, in the Cash for Work program. Now he can provide for the basic needs of his family.  Faimée was registered in the FH Child Development Program and we are here to help her find her happiness and her health again.

By Emmanuelle Anglade and Mario Bellevue

Translated by Lauren Marshall

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First night upon arriving in Haiti that I’m unable to drift off to sleep.   Lying awake here in sweltering humidity and heat, listening to the downpour of rain slow down to a trickle, the continual whir of the fan… while random thoughts keep flooding my mind.  Strangely, Haiti reminds me so much of Africa that I keep forgetting where I am.   It’s not just me – a number of my colleagues have also made similar comparisons between Haiti and parts of Africa.

Speaking with Haitians, I keep sensing this deep loss, grief, and constant worry lingering beneath the surface of their strong facades (facades that allow them to function day to day).  Haitians know the earthquake incident was tragic, but they are only too aware that life must also go on.  Even upcoming joys have now become bittersweet – one of our drivers will be having his first baby in the next few months and yet he and his wife are currently still living in a tent on the streets.  When he speaks about his coming child, his excitement about the baby is clearly dampened by worries of how his family will live once the baby is born.  People’s eyes still immediately glisten with tears at the mere mention of January 12 … I’ve had to watch so many people try all too hard to hold themselves together when you can clearly see the tears threatening to spill out.

The majority of the city still doesn’t have electricity and after 7:30 pm, much of the city becomes completely pitch dark.  Older married men have been taking advantage of the cover of darkness to approach teenage girls for sex, offering food and everyday necessities that girls may lack.  Some women now live under nothing but sheets and sticks, offering little to no protection from men who choose to steal sexual pleasures from them in the dead of the night.

One of the reasons I love working with children as much as I do is because of their hope and resilience.  Not all children will find it immediately, but when they do, their slices of hope and joy amidst suffering and ability to infectiously spread this to those around them… well, I find this to be more beautiful than anything I can possibly imagine.

-Deborah Tsuchida
Gender-based Violence Advisor
FH Haiti

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The streets are covered with dust. Collapsed buildings, re-bar jutting into the air, piles of crushed buildings giving constant testament to the shake that made them fall. The tremblement de terre, or 7.0 earthquake, that struck Haiti at 4:53pm on Jan 12th, has left Haiti devastated. People walk the streets now with their faces covered by masks, guarding against the overwhelming smell of decomposing bodies, entombed in shattered structures.

And now, in the open spaces, the middle of roads, yards, parking lots and fields, thousands upon thousands of people are living outside; under sheets held up by sticks, either terrified to sleep inside, or homeless from the quake. An entire city displaced. An entire city leveled.

The estimates of how many were killed by the earthquake are still just estimates; tens of thousands, maybe a hundred thousand. The effects of these deaths are everywhere. Yesterday a woman named Merline wept as she explained how her husband was killed by the earthquake, has two children to care for, has taken in two other orphans, and is eight months pregnant. She stood in the middle of what people are calling “tent city”, holding a child with one hand and her pregnant stomach with the other, repeating her story over and over. Her trauma had frozen her in the moment of her greatest loss. Silent tears poured down her face. She has nothing, and has nowhere to go. She is scared and alone, and fears for the future of the children she loves.

People’s access to water, food and medical care is desperate. Everyday hospitals are overwhelmed, everyday people are waiting for hours in lines for water, only to pay way more than they can afford. Yesterday two men fought each other over a single bottle of water.

But help is coming, and some is here. Search and rescue teams are working ceaselessly to find survivors. Every day they are pulling people from the rubble. Today is the ninth day. A rescue worker from Los Angeles county said they have found survivors as long as 14 days after being buried. There is still time for life.

Food for the Hungry is on the ground providing emergency relief to the survivors. Today we will distribute much needed basics. But time is urgent and the need is enormous. Help us help our Haitian friends.

Lindsay Branham
FH Communications

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