The reports I am getting from the ground are full of disease and hunger – Dr. Geet
Dr. Geet Chainani, based in USA, she will be visiting Sindh soon to help flood-affected ailing people.
“We are going to Sindh soon,” Dr. Geet had disclosed in her brief comment on Sindh Courier’s write up about her on Sunday night. She had helped the people in flood zones in 2010-11.
On early Monday morning, Sindh Courier approached her to know about her program. “I will share my program as the date get closer. We are still working out the details,” Dr. Geet said however added, “I will be in Sindh for two to three weeks.”
“We are planning and our focus is emergency relief. The reports I am getting from the ground are full of disease and hunger. These will be our focus points,” she said adding ‘I will arrive in Karachi and then move to different districts of Sindh.
To a question about any difference between the current devastation she has been observing and the 2010-11 situation, Dr. Geet said, “The devastation this year looks worse than it was in 2010”. But she added, “The reports are never accurate. Even after 2010, the reports that came out in retrospect never reflected the things what I saw.”
To a question about recovery and rehabilitation of flood-affected homeless people of Sindh, Dr. Geet said, “In a short time, one cannot be able to think of recovery and rehab.”
“It’s very unfortunate situation, but we have to get them well enough to go back to working in their fields. They need enough protection to be safe from infection and disease. Their rehab comes after that.”
As regards international aid agencies, Dr. Geet viewed that the system that INGOs like the UN have setup is one that comes from years of experience in disaster relief. “The families that lost their entire crop, income for one year, need financial support. But no one gives out free money, so all NGOs on the ground provide in kind support. Initially in the form of food, clean water, tents, medical care, mosquito nets etc. Proper nutrition and shelter make it possible for people to start thinking about recovery. NGOs then provide them support in the form of seeds, fertilizer etc.”
“Otherwise, they are left to the whim of their rich landowners who loan them seeds and fertilizer at 300 percent interest,” she said.
“I have observed that most of the affected persons use their own broken bricks to rebuild their homes,” she shared.
“I am sure you already know that enough aid is extended but a small fraction of the amount reaches to flood affected people.”
“Less than 5 percent of the amount raised by UN reaches to farmers. And the funds are given to INGOs who are directed by their Country Heads and Provincial Heads,” Dr. Geet said concluding that there are many things that need to get done to better Sindh. “For improving the situation, the people have to transform themselves.”