Top Pakistani cricketer, Shahid Afridi, visited flood-hit areas of Pakistan with Islamic Relief (IR) on 25th and 26th July 2007.
Afridi participated in an emergency distribution of food and other relief items in the province of Balochistan.
Balochistan bore the brunt of Cyclone Yemyin’s 80mph winds and the heavy rains that followed. Now, nearly two months after Yemyin hit, around 2.5 million people continue to be affected by severe flooding in Balochistan and neighbouring Sindh.
Since the beginning of this year, IR has been planning for Afridi and other top Pakistani cricketers to participate in a campaign to raise awareness about the humanitarian situation in Balochistan.
Primary school enrolment rates are lower in Balochistan than other regions of Pakistan. Many children miss out on an education because they live in remote areas and it is too far for them to travel to school.
The region also suffers from frequent drought, leaving thousands of people with difficult access to water and sanitation facilities. This problem has been worsened by the recent floods and the lack of clean water has led to the spread of waterborne diseases, such as acute skin conditions and chronic diarrhoea.
Later this year, Afridi was hoping to go on a fundraising tour of the USA to speak about Balochistan and the projects that IR carries out in drought-affected villages. However, after floods devastated the region, Afridi decided to get involved sooner by helping IR distribute emergency aid.
Afridi visited flood-hit areas of Kharan, a district in Balochistan where IR has long-term projects in water, agriculture, health and disaster preparedness.
Whole communities have been affected by flooding in Kharan, with many homes, schools and other infrastructure destroyed by the waters.
“We were moved by the touching scenes that we witnessed out there,” Afridi said on his return, “I believe it is our responsibility to come to the rescue of those people who have lost their dear ones, their homes and their livelihoods.”
IR Flood Emergency Response
Islamic Relief’s emergency response began soon after the floods hit, with a distribution of food, shelter items and jerrycans to 900 families in the districts of Kharan and Chagai in Balochistan.
IR is now working in partnership with other relief agencies and institutional donors to support over 87,000 people in the districts of Kharan, Chagai and Jaffarabad.
Emergency projects range from distributing food, shelter kits, hygiene packs and water purification tablets, to constructing latrines and tankering clean water to flood-affected areas.
Due to collapsed bridges and destroyed roads, thousands of people in Balochistan have still not received humanitarian aid. There is an urgent need for clean drinking water, hygiene facilities, shelter, food and medical assistance.