Similar to the devastating country-wide floods of 2010, this year floods caused by heavy monsoon rains have taken a toll on Sindh and Baluchistan, killing over 300 people and impacting a further 8 million. Aid agencies estimate that flood waters have damaged or destroyed some 665,000 homes and razed millions of acres of cash crops such as sugarcane and cotton.
Shell Pakistan Limited (SPL) staff gathered funds, procured rations, packed and loaded gunny bags with an assortment of rations – each bag comprised enough rations to last a family of 8 people for 3-4 weeks. Bags were then loaded into freight carrier trucks headed for villages outside the cities of Umerkot and Sanghar. SPL partnered with Karachi Relief Trust (KRT) whose volunteers on the ground arranged for tokens to be distributed to remotely-located flood-affected communities who were yet to receive aid, so that all households within those communities received a ration pack each, and there was no duplication or exclusion.
While the trucks of ration packs made their way to the interior, SPL staff also drove over 1000 kilometres to survey the damage caused by floods this year first-hand and oversee the distribution of goods themselves.
Lands in Sindh are completed altered – the desert of Tharparkar is green with vegetation, while the agricultural heartlands of Sindh such as Sanghar and Badin resemble lakes that span as far as the eye can see.
At the moment, hunger is one of the biggest challenges that the government and relief agencies face, but as waters slowly recede and evaporate officials expressed fears about the rapid spread of disease and say that the problems affecting Sindh are growing more acute. Already, more than two million people are estimated to be suffering from diseases such as malaria, cholera, dysentery and dengue while at least 7,000 people are being treated for snake bites.