CAFOD and Clifton Diocese community – the People of Hope to our worldwide #OurCommonHome
Harvest appeal: Through the raging water – The incredible journeys of two women in the aftermath of Pakistan’s historic floods and the support received from CAFOD community.
This time last year, Pakistan was devastated by flooding on a scale never seen before. At one point more than a third of the country was underwater, the homes and farmland of thousands of families washed away.
It was midnight, just as the storm broke through and Meera’s home began to fill with water – that was the moment she felt herself go into labour…
She and her husband rushed out, even as the floodwater rushed in, determined to get to the hospital and give their baby the best chance, even if it meant leaving everything they owned behind.
“The whole village was flooded. The water was up to our knees,” Meera remembers, “Just reaching the road to get out of the house to go to the hospital was very difficult. We paced towards the road and waved our hands, and a motorcycle stopped.”
Meera and her husband borrowed a motorbike from a passing neighbour and rode through the darkness, battling against the rain and the rising water. Thankfully, they made it, and Meera was overjoyed to hold her new daughter, Marwi, in her arms. But when the couple brought their baby back from the hospital, their home was gone – swept away by the flood.
The family moved into a temporary shelter at the side of the road. But with little food and nothing but contaminated water to drink, diseases started to spread throughout the camp, and Meera and her children soon became sick.
Doctors driven by compassion
“The impact of the flooding was very bad,” says Dr Nasha, from our partner Community World Services Asia, as she sits in her clinic at the end of a busy day of treating patients. “Shelters were destroyed. People’s animals died and the flood destroyed all their crops.”
As she finishes writing up her notes, there’s the rumble of an engine starting, and the clinic begins to vibrate. Dr Nasha goes to take her seat. A moment later Dr Nasha, her team of expert doctors and nurses, and their entire clinic are rolling down the street, ready to visit another village tomorrow.
Dr Nasha works in a Mobile Health Clinic – a motorised modern medical centre, packed with everything she and her team need to treat their patients, and wheels and an engine to get them where they’re needed most. So when the floods hit Pakistan, the Mobile Clinic hit the road.
“We were camping in different villages on a daily basis,” Dr Nasha remembers, “We were giving health sessions about diseases, counselling, awareness.”
The team travelled hundreds of miles, camping every night. With the help of donations to CAFOD – donations generously given by people like you – they worked hard to bring vital healthcare to people who had been left isolated by the floods. That was how they met Meera. When they arrived in her village, Meera hurried to bring her children to the clinic and got them the life-saving medicines and treatment they needed.
“We provided her with a medical check up and gave her medicine, and also gave her counselling about health and breastfeeding,” says Dr Nasha. “I will tell you is she is a very brave woman. During the floods Meera survived very difficult conditions in a very sensitive stage of pregnancy. That is very inspirational and motivational for us.”
Rebuilding, brick by brick
Marwi is now a healthy one year old. Together, Meera and her husband are working to recover what they lost in the floods. They have rebuilt their home, making each brick by hand. And, with your support, Dr Nasha and her Mobile Health Clinic are continuing to bring help where it’s urgently needed.
“Thank you so much those who are supporting us with such a generous donation,” say Dr Nasha, “It’s so heartwarming to know we have friends who are there for us when we need it most. Thank you so much.”
Your Harvest donation means doctors and other local experts can help families like Meera’s when they need it most. With extreme disasters like flooding happening more and more, your love and support is needed now more than ever.
Visit cafod.org.uk/give or donate via your parish envelope on Family Fast Day.
You can also watch Meera’s story here: https://youtu.be/NJr5jOvp1hU