As natural disasters, manmade disasters, conflict and climate change remain an increasing threat to the most needy of the world’s population so the need to respond appropriately to their plight heightens. Communities and peoples that struggle to survive on a dollar a day are usually most acutely affected by any such disaster or conflict and the destabilising effects of it. As demonstrated by the recent earthquake and tsunami in Japan and the earthquake in New Zealand such disasters have a catastrophic effect on more prosperous nations and communities too – in the short term and immediate aftermath of such disasters they too need our support. Islamic Help is committed to responding to all such disasters so as to alleviate human suffering.
In the charity’s early days with little but enthusiasm, good will and sheer determination we were able to respond to major disasters like the Indian Ocean Tsunami 2004. We have continued our commitment and the following disasters and crises are just some of the ones we have been able to respond to:
Indian Ocean Tsunami 2004 Niger and Mali Drought 2005
South Asian Earthquake 2005 Cyclone Sidr 2007
Baluchistan Floods 2007 Hurricane Alia 2008
Swat Valley Crisis 2009 Haiti Earthquake 2010
Pakistan Floods 2010
Our response to any disaster or crisis is determined by the disaster or crisis itself; our Disaster Response Team decides on the scale the of the response. However the provision of water, food, shelter and medical aid are almost invariably given priority and we try to ensure that those that we reach are provided with these fundamentals in the immediate aftermath of any disaster.
On Boxing Day 2004 the west coast of Northern Sumatra was the epicentre of what is believed to have been the third largest earthquake ever recorded on a seismograph of a magnitude between 9.1 and 9.3. It triggered a series of devastating tsunamis which left over 230,000 people dead, hundreds of thousands injured and over 1.5 million displaced. It was one of the deadliest recorded disasters in history.
Islamic Help sent disaster relief teams to Banda Aceh, Indonesia – one of the worst hit areas. We were able to provide much needed medical aid and medicines for the injured; we also donated a fully equipped ambulance. We also carried out a food distribution programme which included Qurbani distribution and eid gifts distribution.
Following the emergency response Islamic Help undertook a long term project to contribute to the rebuilding effort following the Tsunami - we have built two orphanages housing 600 children and a school in the region.
In July 2010 Pakistan saw the start of the worst flooding it had seen in over a century. Beginning in the North of the country the heavy monsoon rains poured unabated for the following weeks causing catastrophic flooding that then also hit the south of the country. An area the size of England was left under water. The floods left a trail of destruction and left 1600 people dead, displaced 20 million people, destroyed or damaged over 1.7 million homes, affected 15,847 villages, destroyed 2.2 million hectares of crops and 450,000 livestock.
The Pakistan Floods impacted more people than the Pakistan Earthquake, Hurricane Katrina and the Haiti Earthquake combined.
Islamic Help’s Pakistan Office and Disaster Response Team leapt into action as soon as the flooding broke. We were able over the next few weeks to provide those affected by the floods with safe drinking water, food, food packages, shelter and medical aid in the form of three field hospitals and medicine. As part of the relief effort we provided over 2.2 million cooked meals and distributed over 17,800 food packages. We also undertook a Qurbani campaign and distributed over 2072 Qurbanis of cows and goats.
Safe drinking water was a pressing need in the immediate aftermath of the floods and we addressed this need in several ways and provided Nomad, Explorer and Trekker water purification units and PUR and Aqua Tablet purification tablets. We also distributed water directly to many villages across flood affected areas by way of water tanks and containers. We also installed over 50 hand and motor pumps across the flood affected regions as part of the relief effort. In all we distributed in excess of 20 million litres of water in the few weeks after the flooding began.
Medical aid was another priority and we established several inflatable hospitals in different locations and supported a number of clinics and hospitals and distributed medicines in various locations.
Islamic Help has maintained a strong presence in Pakistan since the floods and we are now supporting communities to rebuild their lives. We have an extensive water hand pumps campaign and have already established over 2000 water hand pumps and are committed to building a further 2000. We are also undertaking various large scale building projects of homes and mosques.
For details of our response to the floods click here