When massive floods struck the Indus River Basin in July 2010, it was Pakistan’s worst natural disaster in memory.
A heavy monsoon period caused the Indus to overflow, until nearly one-fifth of the country was under water. The monsoons claimed 1,700 lives and 14 million were forced to flee their homes.
With entry into the country difficult for volunteers from other nations, Pakistani Volunteer Disaster Relief mobilised from within to deliver aid in various regions—Islamabad in the north, Karachi in the south and Kushab in the central region. With most roads flooded and impassable, the teams first rescued families stranded in remote encampments. Volunteers reached them with local boats and waded through chest-high water to deliver supplies. They brought food, water, clothing and emergency supplies, and provided Assists to the shocked and traumatised.
In yet another area, Volunteer Disaster Relief teamed up with a Pakistani army unit. They distributed food, water and medicine to thousands living in remote refugee camps, teaching their leaders basic Assist principles and organising the camps to avert rioting by the desperate people. The team delivered thousands of Assists and trained more than 1,800 others to do the same.
An official of the Sindh Government Ministry of Law stated: “I really agree with and am inspired by the motto of the Disaster Relief Team, and they have proved these words by their actions: ‘Something can be done about it.’ It is great to know and see that these volunteers are so effectively helping the flood victims. Our country needs this honesty and dedication. I really appreciate their humanitarian work. Thank you so much.”
An official from the Sindh High Court wrote: “Flood victims really need someone who can listen to them and their problems and the Disaster Relief Team is doing that. This is appreciated.”