Turkish, Pakistani relief agencies share burden of Pakistan's flood victims

Turkish, Pakistani relief agencies share burden of Pakistan's flood victims

Thousands have been lodging in temporary housing facilities set up by relief agencies

By Aamir Latif

DADU, Pakistan (AA) - Nestled on the northern outskirt of Dadu district in Pakistan, a housing facility set up by Türkiye's Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) has been a temporary home for more than one month for Naik Mohammad.

Mohammad is one of the hundreds of thousands of Pakistanis displaced by heavy floods in September.

A resident of Mehar in Dadu, one of the badly hit districts in the southern Sindh province, Mohammad, along with his family, took refuge at the local railway station when his small village was inundated by unprecedented rains and floods.

The floundered family lived there until the district administration moved them to the sprawling housing facility.

"We went through fear, and hunger until we reached here," said the 56-year-old farmer.

Outside of a huge tent, which serves as a mosque, Mohammad told Anadolu Agency that he feels "safe and secure" after the week-long trauma, particularly the treacherous journey he had to endure to save his and his family's lives.

"It's of course not an alternative to your own home. But at least you get shelter and food here," he said.

Rajab Ali, a resident of the nearby Khairpur Nathan Shah, another hard-hit locality by the floods, did not sit idly in contrast to other families.

Ali’s wife Meeran Bibi, with the help of her daughters, makes embroidered handkerchiefs that Rajab sells in Dadu, where he works as a laborer.

"We are thankful to our Turkish brothers for helping us at this trying time. But, we must not be a permanent burden on them," Ali, who owned a small piece of cropland in the suburbs of Khairpur Nathan Shah before the floods struck, told Anadolu Agency.

- 'Thankful to Erdogan'

Dadu’s "tent city" was the first temporary housing facility established last month for flood victims in Pakistan by AFAD in collaboration with the Pakistani charity organization Baitussalam Welfare Trust (BWT).

Another tent city, named after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, was established earlier this month in collaboration with the Pakistan Air Force and BWT in Bholari, a remote village 98 kilometers (61 miles) from the country's commercial capital of Karachi.

It is currently accommodating 1,000 displaced persons, according to Mohammad Said, a BWT official who supervises the facility.

The displaced families are provided with two meals a day, in addition to medical services.

Apart from 300 tents, the facility also has a "tent school," a makeshift clinic, and a mosque, housing supervisor Mohammad Asif told Anadolu Agency.

AFAD has already provided more than 30,000 tents in 19 regions, providing temporary housing to 200,000 displaced people.

So far, Ankara has sent 15 planes and 13 "goodness trains" loaded with relief goods, including tents, food, medicine, kitchen items, vaccine, and other supplies to flood-hit regions.

The Turkish charity is also going to set up a third tent city in the Thatta district in Sindh.

"We owe a big thank you to Erdogan. We remember the generosity he had offered during the 2010 floods," said Sohrab Ali Khan, a tribal elder, referring to Ankara's assistance during massive floods that submerged one-fifth of the country.

“But, this time, the catastrophe is too huge and so is Türkiye's help," he told Anadolu Agency.

- Free boat service

A temporary housing facility on Dadu’s bypass, set up by the country's top relief and rescue agency Al-Khidmat Foundation, is also hosting more than 1,000 victims.

The foundation has established temporary housing for flood victims in more than 50 districts, mainly in Sindh and southwestern Balochistan provinces.

A few hundred meters from the site on Dadu’s bypass, a "mobile clinic" is operating, where according to the foundation's district head Mohammad Musa Babbar, nearly 300 patients are treated daily.

"We have hired local doctors, both male and female, who are working at the clinic at nominal salaries. Some have been working voluntarily," said Babbar.

The Al-Khidmat Foundation is operating a free boat service for thousands of marooned residents, for whom, a boat is the only way to travel or transfer patients to hospitals in Dadu and adjoining towns as villages are still under three to six feet of water.

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