Sooliman: Pakistani needs are huge

2010-08-24 00:00

THE Gift of the Givers Foundation, based in Pietermaritzburg, has set aside R10 million as an initial response for Pakistani flood relief.

Gift of the Givers founder Imtiaz Sooliman left for Pakistan on Saturday to oversee and manage projects to help those in need after the flooding and to determine what more can be done to help.

Said Sooliman, “When the trucks arrived only teenagers and little children ran behind them. The desperation was palpable; in many instances children would cry, ‘Please give us water … water … water …’.”

“As you approached the tents, women would recede in the background; modest, hungry and dignified. No adult will stretch out an arm, will not even ask and only when you stretch your arm out and put the food into their chest, then they reciprocate.

“You feel it; the eyes, the lips and the facial expression say it all,” said Sooliman.

Gift of the Givers has already handed out 5 000 specially prepared food packs that contain cooking utensils, bottled water and food common to Pakistanis. Military helicopters have been flying the food packs from Islamabad to afflicted areas.

One million water purification sachets, able to purify 10 million litres, are being dispatched with a consignment of ready-to-eat high energy and protein supplement.

“This supplement does not require heating, cooking, refrigeration or water and can be dropped from helicopters to people below as a viable, efficient, alternative food supply,” said Sooliman.

He is awaiting delivery of medical supplies to treat cholera, typhoid and malaria.

In the Sindh region, teams are feeding refugees in the Shah Bandher area and several thousand new items of clothing have been ordered for men, women and children who have lost everything.

“Your own observation tells you that the need is far greater; malnourished adults, emaciated children, naked babies and empty tents,” said Sooliman.

“The rain has stopped ... We may only see how bad it really is now.”

To join the relief effort, make contributions to Gift of the Givers, Standard Bank, Pietermaritzburg, A/C No. 052 278 611, branch code 057 525. E-mail your deposit slip or fax to 033 394 3780 with your personal details so we can acknowledge your contribution. For more details, call 0800 786 777.

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