LRBT has made an all-out effort to help the flood-stricken in the country. The following work was shared with PAKISTAN & GULF ECONOMIST.
Pakistan has been hit by the most devastating calamity in its history. Super floods caused have submerged almost 33% of the country and infrastructural destruction of a mammoth scale has been seen. The statistics are horrifying as more than 30 million people have been rendered homeless and without jobs, more than 1000 people have lost their lives and those who have survived are living under the open sky with no access to food, clean water, or sanitation. The living conditions of survivors are increasingly becoming unbearable.
Particularly affected are the provinces of Sindh, Baluchistan, and KPK. Sindh’s cotton fields have been destroyed entirely and with many farmers losing their income- there is a severe threat of them descending into extreme poverty and destitution. What adds to their devastation is the abhorrent state of their current makeshift housing, with shelters being made from old clothes, no proper sanitation for human waste, and unhygienic stagnant water surrounding the areas, millions are vulnerable in the face of various kinds of water borne diseases. Many have been injured during the course of the floods and their wounds have been left open causing infections and other ailments. It is a humanitarian crisis and has caused all sectors to turn immediate heed toward the flood-affected Pakistanis.
LRBT is no different, whenever there has been a need for it to step up and serve Pakistan, by virtue of its network and services, it has been our top priority and has been done without delay. This situation demanded swift action and accurate planning and that’s exactly what has been done. As soon as the threat of waterborne diseases became inevitable, LRBT made a plan to conduct camps in 9 locations in Pakistan to provide medical relief to those affected by the floods.
Camps at Fazil Pur and Lar Multan
LRBT teams at Tando Allahyar, Tando Bago, Gambat, Lar Multan, Pasrur, Chiniot, Akora Khattak, Odigram, and Quetta were engaged to conduct the camps. Through these camps, LRBT is conducting eye screening and overall health checkups to treat various eye infections caused by malnourishment and unhygienic stagnant water. Going beyond their scope or work which is eye care, LRBT is also engaging General Physicians to be a part of the teams in the medical camps to screen cases for diseases including but not limited to cholera and typhoid, diarrhea, dysentery, malaria, dengue and different skin infections which break out due to poor hygiene. Those who have open wounds are being treated through first aid.
Camps in Rashidabad – Village Mir Fazal talpur, Tehsil Naser pur, Dist Tando Allah Yar
The planning of these camps was done through a step-by-step process, and despite the fact that water did not enter any of the facilities, most of the area near LRBT facilities was completely submerged in water. A team was designated to do a thorough survey of the areas where there were most people and the camps were set up in those areas. Teams from all 9 locations go through the stagnant water to reach the locations where people are in large numbers. The camps are set up and are providing people with checkups and free medicines.
LRBT Quetta team making their way through stagnant water to get to the camps.
“The living conditions for people are horrible, the diseases that are cropping up are some that we have never seen before. Skin rashes and gastro issues are increasing by the day as are dengue and malaria. There are many cases of night blindness that are occurring due to Vitamin A deficiency. “I have witnessed a few crises’ before but I have never seen anything of this magnitude, and if weather reports are to be believed, this is not the end of the devastation as more rains are predicted in September. I don’t know for how long the people here will be able to withstand the pressure that comes with these living situations, thousands have already succumbed and lost their lives” said Nasir Khan, a supervisor at one of our camps in Quetta.
Camps in Chakki Shahwani, Dheri Khel and Pasrur
This is not the end of the road for the ordeal faced by the millions who have been affected by the floods. Providing medical relief and rebuilding the health of those affected remains a top priority for LRBT. The camps will be conducted throughout the month and new locations which need attention will be visited. The teams are working tirelessly to help and navigate the tasks on hand to maximize impact and ensure that a maximum number of people can be helped. There is a plan to conduct camps in areas where displaced people have settled so that their medical emergencies can also be addressed. This humanitarian crisis is far from over and rebuilding and rehabilitating the lives of those who have been affected will take years. LRBT believes that the health of the affected Pakistanis is of paramount importance and providing medical relief is the first step towards facilitating them to rebuild their lives again and it will continue in its endeavors to alleviate their suffering.