Oxfam Programme Officer in Pakistan Madiha Shafi describes the devastation in Shikarpur district in Sindh province, where around 300,000 people have been displaced by flooding.
When I reached Shikarpur, I saw people sitting on the roadside with blank faces while holding onto last belongings. They seemed traumatised with unexpected flood. I slowly drove past them and entered into a relief camp located near by the city.
Oxfam video from Shikarpur
Here I became numb as I saw hungry people and children who lost everything in flood were waiting for food. Suddenly, a woman touched my feet and said in Sindhi 'please give me something we have lost everything. I have not eaten anything in past two days'.
At that moment I felt someone was cutting my heart with sharp knife. I tried to stop her and stepped back. I was speechless and had no words to console her.
I moved ahead with a heavy heart. At this point I witnessed a lot of movement among people living in this relief camp. It is because a truckload of cooked rice arrived here and received attraction of people.
Many children were running with bare foot to tell their parents that food has arrived. However, the amount of food given to each family is really far from sufficient.
Each family was given a plate full of rice. In this area where at least six person forms a family this amount of food is next to nothing.
I realised why hunger is a harsh reality. We completed our assessment here and came outside of the camp. The weather outside was really hard for everyone to bear due to burning temperature.
However, to me everything was burning here including frustrated eyes of the people, tears which are rolling down from the eyes of the kids and of course my aching heart.
We visited another camp. About 2,000 people are living in this camp where as according to the authority a possibility of 2,000 more people are likely to arrive in next one or two days from nearby flood hit zones.
Story here is the same - grim and daunting. This is the time to help these unfortunate people.
While I am writing my feelings about Shikarpur I still am thinking about the woman who touched my feet. I am once again in agony and I am not able to see my laptop screen because of tears in my eyes which is making every thing hazy.
You can donate to Oxfam Ireland’s emergency appeal at www.oxfamireland.org/donate, via any of Oxfam Ireland’s 49 shops or by telephoning 1850-304055 (ROI) or 0800-0-304055 (NI).