“Everything I had to live for was swept away in one night. My grief knows no bounds,” Sakina Bibi, a resident of a small village in Sindh, Pakistan, told us.
She had been sleeping with her newborn child when the sound of loudspeakers from the nearby mosque woke her up. The mosque was warning people to evacuate, since floodwaters had ravaged the adjacent village, and were now speeding towards them.
Sakina and her husband panicked. How could they collect everything, gather the family and leave immediately? The family included her own two children – one toddler and a newborn baby along with her husband’s brother and his family of six members.
While they gathered whatever belongings they could in a frenzy, a massive surge of water hit their house, sweeping away Sakina’s newborn baby. In the blink of an eye, their livestock, belongings and their baby were carried away in a powerful wave.
Wading through the water, they were able to reach and station themselves on the roof of a local mosque. “I lost my baby. We had nothing to eat or drink. I just couldn’t comprehend what has happened to me in one night”, grieved Sakina. With no food, water, or shelter, Sakina’s family and three other families were rescued after two days by the local government relief van. The four families were brought to a safe place where Indus Hospital & Health Network, with the support of Karachi Relief Trust, provided the families with food, shelter, hygiene kits, and urgent primary-level medical care.
“It was here that I was able to share my sorrow with the medical team. They not only gave me medicine to treat my skin rash and some other infection but also counseled me to cope with my loss.”
According to experts, women are the most vulnerable group in the current flood crisis. Lack of access to sanitation and maternal care services puts women’s health at great risk. The Medical Relief Units by IHHN are focused on not only providing free medical care and medicines to men, women, and children but are also conducting mental health sessions and community awareness sessions amongst the displaced communities to help them cope with their loss and begin to take care of themselves.