After returning from his recent work in Pakistan with Midland Doctors, Dr Irshad Soomro was featured in an article in the Nottingham Evening Post of the 4th of October. To read more about his work see the update below for the 23rd of September 2010.
City Hospital doctor re-homes 60 families in Pakistan who were hit by floods
“These are very poor people anyway,” said Dr Soomro. “We are talking about an average farmer probably making around £50 a month. “They are acutely poor. This has brought more suffering upon them. “We had to move about 60 families. “They have about seven or eight children, and now they don’t have any income.
“The families themselves don’t know how things will work out. “They are just praying that the water will go down. Some were still in their homes, in the water, [in]mud houses that had collapsed. “They have not got the money to rebuild their homes.” Dr Soomro, a member of Midlands Doctors Association, which is helping with the flood relief effort in Pakistan, inherited the rice farm from his father. He estimates between £50,000 and £60,000 worth of crops have been lost.
The association was formed by a group of doctors in the Midlands who decided to set up a permanent hospital in Pakistan after the country was hit by an earthquake in 2005. After the floods occurred around six weeks ago, the group decided to tackle the immediate problem first, and help people who lost their homes in the floods. Dr Soomro said: “I have never seen so much water. “I go every year, and every year I see new development. “To see all that gone to waste – all the streets and the devastated crops… it hurts.
“We went to the villages and there are still people who have not left their houses. “They said crime is also not being controlled in the area. “Health provision is not very good in the area, anyway. “Water brings with it disease and the temperature is very hot. These conditions are very encouraging for the growth of bacteria, and this has meant we have seen a lot of gastroenteritis, especially in children and older people.”
Dr Soomro, of Wollaton, said incidences of scabies and TB were also common because of the overcrowding. He described travelling from Karachi to the farm, which usually takes 45 minutes. Because of the water he had to drive, use a boat and then a tractor to get to the farm – a journey that took more than three hours. Oxfam have also been working with him and his family and, using his sister’s home in Shikarpur, have given out about £1m in vouchers for people to buy food and provisions.