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September 17 2010

Many hands to help Pakistan: New aid to the tent cities in the area of Peshawar

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The aid mission of Sant'Egidio in the areas of northwest Pakistan continues. We publish news arrived yesterday from Pakistan

Wednesday, September 15th, as promised to the people of the tent city, we're back in the area of Charsadda to deliver the second and much larger cargo of aid.

The town of Charsadda, as the other where we brought aid, Nowshera, both in the autonomous province of the northwest frontier, have become ghost settlements. The whole population had to move into tents. Some are even among the tombs, as the local cemetery, built on a hill, was saved from the flood.

Aid began to flow, and some tents were organized, but the number of people affected and the fact that the area was already destituted does not make an easy condition.

Also this time we were a good group of more than 30 people. The inhabitants of the tent city, which has since grown further (now about 750), were there waiting since early morning. When they saw us coming, they had a great feast. Especially children, who are more than 60% of the field, get to see this big truck were moved and surrounded it singing and clapping. Most elderly people came to greet us and thank us for the promise kept. Some thanking Allah for not having forgotten them.

Since we had noticed last time the malnutrition of children, we have focused on energy food for them. In each tent we delivered two mattresses and a bag containing 15 cans of biscuits, 1 kg tea, 10 kg sugar, 20 liters of UHT milk, 10 bars of soap, 6 toothpaste, 6 toothbrushes, 2 shampoo, 6 towels and 6 boxes of products against mosquitoes for use outside the tents. We wanted to deliver things going tent by tent (about 140) so as to greet everyone and try to talk a bit with them. This has greatly amazed people of the camp, since the little aid delivered in recent weeks had been distributed in the "yard" between the tents.

There was a great need to tell the drama of the flood suffered now one month ago, that terrible night in which the houses of the two villages near the Kabul River (a river originating in Afghanistan and  joining the Indus River in Pakistan near Peshawar) were suddenly flooded. Some older people did not manage to escape and in a short time, the violence of the water has destroyed every house. Now the hope is to return soon to their villages and start rebuilding homes. The children want to go back to school, like Bismillah ("the name of Allah"), a child of 9 years, who wanted to show us the schoolbag he used and he wanted to save at all costs from the violence of the flood.

We then decided to do a little party with them, dancing and singing Pashtun songs. The children started to dance, and women get could have their hands decorated with henna: in these lands, this is a sign of feast. On many faces have appeared the first smiles and some tears of emotion, unusual for a proud people like the Pashtun, has helped loosening a pain so long withheld.

The distribution continued in another tent city, which houses about 300 people. The camp is much poorer than the former and many tents are of poor quality and not even have the floor that isolates them from the ground. Also there we delivered mattresses and milk to each family.

Adjacent to these two fields there is a small medical clinic opened by the Pakistani government for refugees.

The doctor, surprised by our visit, showed us the scarcity of drugs available. We delivered the medicines collected in Italy. He thanked us and asked us to help by sending more medicines, especially anti-diarrheal and drops against eye infections, which we will try to deliver soon.

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reason: "Pakistan Emergency"


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Comunità di S.Egidio-ACAP Onlus
IBAN: IT67D0760103200000000807040


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