Posts Tagged ‘Interfaith League Against Poverty’

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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