MULTAN: Pakistan has faced a series of obstacles since its inception and in such times it is the resilient, brave and selfless people that have risen to the challenge and pulled the country away from the brink of disaster.
The manner in which the country dealt with the devastation caused by the 2005 earthquake and is now battling against floods is a demonstration of ordinary peoples commitment for their brothers and sisters welfare.
On August 14, 2010 US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton phoned President Asif Ali Zardari and praised the courage with which the people of Pakistan had braved the recent floods. The Pakistani government, political parties, social organisations, philanthropists and volunteers are actively engaged in offering rescue, relief and rehabilitation services in flood zones throughout the country. Rescue operations have nearly been completed in southern Punjab while relief and rehabilitation efforts are now in full swing. Community participation in relief and rehabilitation activities has greatly altered the scenario in flood zones in Multan as locals from all spheres have pitched in to help flood victims rebuild their homes and lives.
“Massive donations have come in and we are trying to organize them as best we can but mostly we are trying to give our time and labour to the people,” said a local business owner Malik Ashar, who said he spent four days off from work, helping seven families rebuild their huts in their villages. People belonging to every segment of society and Pakistanis living abroad have regularly been sending donations and offering possible assistance to mitigate the suffering of the flood victims.
A large number of teachers, college students, engineers and shopkeepers have been taking days off on a rotational basis in order to take trips into nearby affected villages. “Trucks are coming and going to the affected areas and we are taking out our old carpets and furniture so that when we help rebuild homes in the villages we can help refurnish them too,” said a local contractor Asad.
Ghulam Hussain Bebir, the father of four young girls and Bebran village resident lost his home and half of his family in the floods. “The floods destroyed by home and my land but I cannot accept the help people are giving. There are people who need it more than me as I am still able and can rebuild on my own,” he said, after denying offers of help. “I was able to save a motorcycle and have re-started my business. I now take passengers from the bus stop to different villages by motorcycle and get paid for the service so I don’t need the assistance as much as others,” Bebir said.
Malik Mukhtiar Ahmed, resident of Hamlet Dainwala near village Basira was able to save his two cows during the floods and has also denied aid in favour of helping his neighbours rebuild. Ahmed sold his cattle and opened a shop in the village. “I will work hard and I will rebuild within the next few months,” he said, adding that so many people were helping out in his village that he was overwhelmed. “We can rebuild better than before I have seen my old neighbours house rebuilt and the students who helped him brought him a carpet, fan and a bed. He never had that before,” Ahmed said.
A number of citizens reached relief camps and presented eidee, sweets, gifts and shared joy on Eid-ul-Fitr. District coordination officer (DCO) Muzaffargarh Tahir Khursheed informed that 55,000 stitched and 65,000 un-stitched cloths were distributed among different flood victims in the
district. He also lauded the public response towards flood victims.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 18th, 2010.