Pakistan: Netizens In Action Helping Flood Victims

Pakistan Floods Map

Pakistan Flood Map. Image Courtesy US Department Of State Pakistan Flood Disaster Relief Page

The extent and impacts of the recent floods in Pakistan are huge in every context. The floods have so far claimed more than 1600 lives and about 20 million people, one tenth of Pakistan population, are suffering and have become homeless. An area of over 160,000 square kilometers – around a fifth of Pakistan's total land – is submerged.

The flood victims desperately need food, shelter, medicine, money and other help. The Pakistan government's response to the crisis has been reported as sluggish. The government lacks infrastructure, money and other resources and the efficacy of National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) has been marred by bureaucracy.

However it is heartening to see that common people, especially many youths of Pakistan are traveling to the affected areas to help the victims. And more so Pakistani netizens are in forefront as they are making their actions visible though live blogs Twitter, images and videos. It is really remarkable and can be an example for other communities how netizens can contribute to the society in disaster management in a coordinated way – which sometime overshadows the state efforts.

We are proud to inform that several of the Global Voices Pakistan authors are traveling in different parts of Pakistan to distribute relief. Global Voices authors Awab Alvi and Faisal Kapadia coordinated with team of volunteers at Motorsports Club of Pakistan, OffroadPakistan and SARelief to conduct on and offline donation drives to collect funds for relief.

Over the past two days our team of volunteers at Motorsports Club of Pakistan and the OffroadPakistan have been in some intense discussion on what might be the best course of action. We have been busy raising funds locally and commitments have reached to a tune of close to Rs. 2.5 million. The online drive at SARelief has touched $2278 from a few generous donors, as the message spreads im sure this easy PayPal payment option, so close to the Islamic month of Ramadan will most likely get a considerable level of funding for the devastation in Pakistan. (Teeth Maestro)

The team went on to the first relief drive to Sukkur in Sindh region on the 14th and 15th of August. Using Twitter and GPS tracking they logged their effort:

6 trucks of relief good valued at more then Rs. 2.4 Million – four trucks of standardized basic food valued at Rs. 16,80,000, one truck containing a mixture of food hampers acquired from Makro at a cost of Rs. 4,43,585 and the sixth truck laden with tents and water bottles valued at Rs. 6,75,000. We are also trucking 250 1-kg tin cans of read-to-eat biryani generously donated by a friend of ours. We are not taking any medicine, but hope to concentrate on a medical relief later. (Teeth Maestro)

Relief being uploaded to truck. Image by Dr. Awab Alvi from Twitpic

Dr. Awab Alvi also posts a number of pictures depicting the flood relief efforts in Sukkur. Moreover he is live Tweeting the efforts via his Twitter account and has thanked the donors:

Sana Saleem, another Global Voices author from karachi, and a project coordinator for a the non-profit youth organisation called “Future Leaders of Pakistan” (FLP) also traveled to Sindh and the Swat Valley. Sana shares her experience at Dawn Blog:

Our day began with identifying affected areas to begin distribution. Sujawal situated in Thatta district was identified as the base camp for distribution of aid. According to the District Officers, Sujawal hosts over 27,500 internally displaced families. Living in abysmal conditions most of these people were living by the roadside on charpai and temporary tents made out of mere straw. The living conditions deteriorated as we traveled further into Sujawal. Roads had been inundated at various points and families were forced to take shelter in areas where there was no electricity. Snakes, other insects and stray dogs were rampant and the families live under a high risk of being attacked by them.

She notes:

Efforts like these prove that there is still hope for Pakistan. As people continue to fight and help each other in these tough times, one only hopes that the rest of the world will also donate generously to help the millions affected by the floods.

Read more of her accounts at The Observers and in her Twitter account.

Pakistani youth in action – planning relief dsitribution. Image by Ammar Yasir from Twitpic

Global Voices authors Farhan Janjua and Ammar Yasir are updating their accounts of relief efforts in collaboration with associations like Pakistan Youth Alliance via Twitter.

Another Global Voices author Salman Latif uploaded several YouTube videos showing the relief efforts. In this video the relief trip to Muzaffargarh and Mehmood Kot was documented.

You can follow the relief efforts and related information logged by netizens via Twitter hashtags #pkflood and #pkrelief.

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