Jamshoro, Pakistan – Last month, monsoon floods swept through much of Pakistan, overwhelming disaster management efforts. But when the country faced its worst disaster in decades, nonprofits and dozens of entrepreneurs, young and old, stepped in.

Everything from tents to blankets, mosquito nets to water filters, food to hygiene kits, antimalarials to basic fever reducers are in great demand.

“Millions of people have no access to water, shelter or food. , Abdullah Fadil, Pakistan’s representative to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), told Al Jazeera.

Fadil said more resources, including medicines and diets, are needed for children and nursing and pregnant mothers, including 680,000 of the 33 million people affected by the floods. rice field.

“The immediate needs of children and mothers in Pakistan really need the world to pay attention. I hope the world pays attention to this scourge caused by climate change,” he said.

Last week, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he had never seen “climatic carnage on this scale” after visiting a flood-affected South Asian country.

As the international response has so far been slow and sluggish, some Pakistanis are doing their best to help their fellow citizens. Here are some of their stories.

INTERACTIVE_PAKISTAN flood 16 x 9 affected map
(Al Jazeera)


More than 1.5 million homes were damaged or destroyed by the deluge. For weeks, people had to endure torrential rains and scorching sun as they had no shelter. Thousands of Pakistanis donate tents and tarps so people can rest.

Muhammad Omar, director of advertising for the southern port city of Karachi, thought the best option would be to rely on the Panaflex sheets used in the billboards.

“All we did was cut them into 4m x 3m rectangles and asked the team to attach metal rivets so that they could be attached to hooks or tied with strings. Cost-effective and easy-to-deploy shelters that can provide shade to desperate families displaced by the floods,” Omar told Al Jazeera.

Since then, Omar and a group of volunteers have helped raise more than $40,000 for dozens of tents and transported trucks and helicopters to remote areas such as Keti Bandar, Kachi, Jal Magsi, Gandaka, Sukkur and Hailpur. , was able to carry the tent by boat. Southern Sindh – Area most affected by floods.

Tent makers saw the crisis as an opportunity, and hundreds of small and medium-sized factories sprung up in major cities.

Not a single drop of water, but water everywhere

Millions of people in Pakistan drink contaminated water, and some are forced to drink from pools in which dead cows float.

“UNICEF has distributed millions of liters of water, but that is just a drop of water that people need,” said UNICEF representative Fadil.

The World Health Organization has warned of multiple disease outbreaks due to unsanitary conditions among people displaced by the floods.

Economist Hamza Farrukh has been working to provide clean water without electricity since 2014. Farrukh, through his non-profit Bondh-E-Shams (which translates to “drops of the sun”), used solar-powered water filtration units to purify polluted water. .

The Solar Water Box offers a rugged, wheeled, solar-powered water filtration unit that can supply up to 10,000 liters of filtered water per day, he says.

Dozens of solar boxes have been deployed, rapidly scaling up to 50 boxes a month, to aid flood survivors in Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Sindh. Filtered water not only keeps people from becoming dehydrated, it also helps manage water-borne illnesses.

Box is a semi-permanent solution. Because once the floodwaters recede, the same units can be moved to a permanent water source in the village.

Bondh-E-Shams have delivered an estimated 50 million cups of clean water to 40 communities around the world, including Rohingyas in Bangladesh and people in need in Afghanistan, South Sudan, Yemen and Pakistan, Farouk says. .

His goal is to “mitigate the global water crisis by 2050”.

Another startup called PakVitae offers a filter product that doesn’t require electricity. Attached to the bottom of a water container using gravity, the filter can deliver up to 10,000 liters of water.

PakVitae management consultant Jarri Masood said filters made from fiber membranes are used to remove most impurities and bacteria.

Since the floods began, PakVitae has donated some units and started providing filters to relief workers. they have reduced the price. Instead of 5,000 rupees ($22) for flood relief he charged 4,000 rupees ($18) and for flood relief units he added 15 liter jerry cans per unit.

Pakistan flood map
The non-profit Enlight Lab decided to collect data on flood-affected areas across Pakistan [Courtesy of Enlight Lab]

no electricity, no lights

Most of Sindh, including Jamshoro, is home to tens of thousands of people on small parcels of dry land and is pitch black at night. At least 101 people were bitten by snakes and 550 by dogs.

Businessman Raza Zubair heard about the plight of flood victims during a sermon on Friday. He and his friends provided solar-powered lamps for the survivors.

Their lightweight solar lamps have provided much-needed lighting for thousands of people.

Like other volunteers, Zubair, who owns the Sun King solar business, distributes food rations, medicines, mosquito nets, toiletries and other essentials.

His company has slashed the price of basic solar lamps for flood victims and has also introduced lanterns that can charge mobile phones. The price of a solar lamp went from 1,600 rupees ($7.20) to 1,000 rupees ($4.50) and the price of a solar lantern went from 6,500 ($29) to 4,000 rupees ($18).

relief aggregator

As more citizens, government agencies, and NGOs start helping people, there is a risk of duplication and the help not reaching the right people.

Enlight Lab co-founder Shafeeq Gigyani was frustrated by his inability to obtain statistics related to his ancestral village on the banks of the Swat River in northern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

The nonprofit Enlight Lab decided to collect data on flood-affected areas across Pakistan. The company came up with his Flood.PK. This is a crowdsourcing platform for flood-affected people to seek help and field teams to respond.

Gigyani, who is based in Peshawar, said the data could streamline shelters, relief, medical aid, volunteer assistance, fundraising, and answer some questions about flooding.

Other aggregators and crowdsourcing platforms such as FloodLight also provide similar data sets to volunteers and victims.

pakistan floods
A victim of deluge caused by monsoon rains stands by a tent at a relief camp in Dasht near Quetta, Pakistan. [Arshad Butt/AP Photo]


As relief and relief come to an end, there is an obvious question of what happens next after the water recedes and the devastation remains. The main task of rehabilitation is to provide homes for hundreds of thousands of people.

How does a cash-strapped, debt-ridden economy pay for it?

Milan Saifi and three others founded Modulus Tech in 2017 to address the housing shortage in Pakistan. Even before the devastating floods, the country had a housing shortage of he 10 million.

Modulus Tech aimed to provide refugees around the world with easy-to-assemble homes.

The Modulus Tech team develops long-term solutions for flood survivors by designing low-cost, ready-to-install homes.

They use non-traditional construction methods and off-grid solutions through responsible sourcing of sustainable and lightweight materials. They say their homes are 90% less polluting than conventional home construction. claim.

Afia Salam, Chairman of the Indus Earth Trust, said long-term rehabilitation solutions are just as important as emergency relief.

She and her colleagues are training masons and supervisors in flood-affected areas to generate funds to rebuild homes. Their designs include cost-effective, locally sourced housing with a low carbon footprint.

This is by no means a comprehensive or exhaustive list, but a small representation of hundreds of organizations old and new and tens of thousands of selfless volunteers serving Pakistan, which is experiencing its worst climate disaster.

pakistan floods
Displaced families displaced from their flood-hit homes take refuge by the roadside in Jamshoro, southern Sindh. [Pervez Masih/AP Photo]

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