Tuesday, August 17, 2010

What If This Were Your Family In Need of Disaster Relief?

This is still ongoing in 2011 . . . 

YOU are a part of HUMANITY. This is OUR World. 
Please help the PEOPLE of PAKISTAN.  

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© International Medical Corps 2010



I received a story written by Amna Siddiqui, a young lady in Pakistan, a nation currently declared the largest relief aid effort overshadowing Hurricane Katrina, the Tsunami, and the Haiti Earthquake by the United Nations News Room.  Following a severe plane crash (as reported by the BBC), sudden and extreme flooding has left [and continues to leave] families without homes, belongings, food, and safe water to drink.  Numerous teams of people in Pakistan are bringing food, water and assisting with medical aid to victims of flood areas. The reality of this situation is not what is seen on television or newspapers.  Through the mouths of those living in this disaster, I share with you pictures, videos and information.

Below is Amna's story and following her story are links to teams in Pakistan to join, reputable organizations to donate to, and cell text donations.  I share this to educate and inform.  Many countries have and are sending aid, however, the aid is needed now.  The aftermath of each passing day presents new areas of flood victims, need for more food/water, medication/medical aid workers to halt waterborne disease, and to prevent further death. All underlined links below go directly to the website mentioned.  We are all a part of humanity. Please join me in lending your hand to the people of Pakistan, and if in Pakistan, join your nation in whatever way possible.

This Family by Amna Siddiqui    
[Ramadan is a celebration of blessings.]

5 days had gone past; washed away more like. And with them, washed away were my house, my family, my things; things that mattered, and things that now, didn’t. And I was left alone, to ponder over its meaning. 5 days, and I still couldn’t believe it.

Ramadan was to start from tomorrow; the Month of Blessings. And I wondered, with a pang of disgrace, over the things I had lost. Certainly, there was no compensation to family; my mother and father and my two younger sisters. Every single thing reminded me of them, and with every single reminder my heart would break anew.

As I looked around, I would only see houses that were flattened, the school destroyed, parents missing, siblings missing, and the fruit laden trees washed away. What was there to be grateful for now? What blessings was Ramadan going to bring me? Nothing mattered to me now, as fresh tears flooded my eyes and I silently wished I could drown myself in them.

With a tired sigh, I got up and started walking. It was a long and silent night. I had no idea of time. I put my hand in my pocket and felt the half eaten pack of biscuits my sister had lent me a week ago. With a tight throat, I lifted it out of my pocket and opened it. The biscuits were soggy; not really my choice. As I was counting them, a cough distracted me. I looked up and noticed a faint glow coming from a distance away. Curiously, I started walking towards it, and saw a few figures settled around a fire. My heart skipped a beat.  They must have food.  I thought. At last, I wouldn't have to eat these soggy biscuits. I sped up towards them.

As I reached nearer, I could make out their faces. Two old men, a woman and a little girl, a middle aged man doing the fire, and two young boys sitting next to him. They weren’t talking, just sitting there drying their clothes and warming up their broken hearts.

© UNHCR The UN Refugee Agency 2010

“Assalam o alaikum” I said loudly so the middle aged man and a few others looked up. 
“Walekum assalam” he replied. “Do sit down.”  
I sat down on a small boulder next to him.
“My name is Zaheer” he said, “And you are?”
“Azhar. From the village down the… road.”  I said.

“Hmmm… Do join us.” Zaheer said with a faint smile and pushed a plate towards me. It had a few dates and some rice. I looked around and noticed others had the same eccentric dish in front of them. The little girl was eating her cold rice hungrily, and the woman, possibly her mother was chewing on the dates.

“This is all we have” Zaheer said without looking up. “But it’s something.”

And I felt like someone had shoved a brick down my throat. I could not speak, I could not swallow. I just sat there with my eyes burning.  Reminding myself of all the blessings I had been ignoring.  How could I have been so ungrateful?  I never valued the whole ripe fruit we grew in our own houses.  I never appreciated my relations.  I sulked over not having a brother,  when blessed with two wonderful sisters.  And worse yet, I loathed my village folk.  I thought of them as illiterate, ignorant, crazy people.  And now, all these blessings were taken away from me.  And I didn’t deserve them in the first place.  And now,  I were blessed so much still. 

And here I was, a Muslim. Sitting among my fellow Muslims. None of us knew each other. The woman and her daughter, the two old men, the little boys and Zaheer himself, all belonged to different families. And were now, sitting together, preparing to Fast.  Of course I still had a family.   They were my family.  My brothers and sisters.  There was no place in the stretched out world where a Muslim was not having Sehri [the feast before the fast] right now, or any moments to follow.  No matter what calamity, we were still here, assembled together for praying.  No matter how many people were lost, we still had ourselves to heal us, and our belief to keep us going. And it was this belief, that linked us together, that made us a family.

© UNHCR The UN Refugee Agency 2010

“Do you… have water?” I croaked.
“Lots of it…” said Zaheer and handed me a huge plastic bottle.
I drank the cold liquid, grateful for every gulp.
“You should start eating.” Zaheer prompted.

I nodded and reached my pocket and brought out the pack of biscuits and handed them over to him.
He instantly opened them and distributed a biscuit each amongst us. Thankfully, there were enough.

“Alhamdulillah.” [Praise to God] We both said and ate gratefully.

And the warmth I felt towards my fellows in faith around me was warmer than any fire could create.

Thousands of people have died, 2 million have been displaced and 14 million lives have been disrupted by exceptionally heavy monsoon rains in Pakistan since July. The U.N. says that even more lives could be lost if aid doesn't arrive soon.


Click pictures below for live video of the flood 

© YOU TUBE VIDEO ITT news 2010 

 © CNN.com YOU TUBE VIDEO 2010 Reza Sayah

© YOU TUBE VIDEO www.Pakistankakhudahafiz.com

YOU are a part of HUMANITY. This is OUR World. 
Please help the PEOPLE of PAKISTAN.  




Unknown said...

Thank you so much Sue for the compilation,regards Sonya :) !!

Susan Marie said...

Sonya it is my pleasure to help in any way we are all one human family.

Michelle Chaplin said...

Thank you so much for sharing this amazing story and and pictures that show the reality of the devastation in Pakistan.

BRAC, a Bangladesh-based non-profit, has been working in Pakistan since 2007 and began providing relief just hours after the flooding started. We've already provided aid to 50,000 and are aiming for many more.

You can stay up to date on our progress at http://blog.bracusa.org.

Susan Marie said...

Michelle, you are welcome. Yes it is reality that most people do not see. Pakistan is close to my heart as is all humanity. I connected to BRAC online. It is a wonderful organization. That is absolutely beautiful. I also shared all your information and will add that to this press.

Words from Sonya said...

Dear Susan,

I am Sonya from Pakistan. As a Pakistani I would like to thank you for your great support in our hard time. Its really comforting to see people like you, so many miles acorss yet united in spirit of humanity and friendship. Our nation is going through a very sad moment. One after the other crisis situation occurs here. Whether its a 'War Against Terror' or 'Earthquake' or 'Plane Crash' etc the last decade has shattered the backbone of our country in every major aspect. And most of all 'Deaths of so Many Innocent Lives'

As God shines His sun on everyone, showers His mercy over all, free of cast, culture or creed. I believe these disasters are a message for the unity of mankind. Where all get united to help others the same way. Thankyou once again! I am overwhelmed to see the care and concern. I hope we find more friends to help us in our hour of need.

God bless you!
Sonya Anjum Saba

Susan Marie said...

Sonya, you humble me your words are so beautiful. You are welcome. Yes in spirit, humanity and friendship. I hope for the world, the people, to pay attention and help.

I know your nation has had too many disasters in a short time. I know it has and it pains me because I feel that immensely. Beautiful what you say about all of us as one, indeed we are.

I also pray for more people but what I am witnessing from where I sit is a country of people helping people and Sonya its really such a gift to be a part of this so in a negative there is indeed positive. 14 relief teams that I know of so far and that is all the youth of Pakistan.

My wish is for people to give and give however they are able. In any fashion. May all of you be blessed because I have no idea how everyone is dealing with such things there.

If I could give a million dollars and food, water, clothes and medication and fly it myself in a plane, I would. I am but a vehicle here. Glad to be just that too.

God Bless you too,