Plan Pakistan Staff Share Personal Accounts About Their Experiences During The Flood Crisis

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You wouldn't know it from first glance at the leafy, wide streets of Islamabad - but one quarter of Pakistan is under water. But look a little closer – at the hastily printed sign at customs welcoming "respected donors," at the roadside billboards soliciting donations and at the whirring activity in the Plan Pakistan country office – and you will quickly come to realize that this is a country coping with a crisis. While many parts of the country may be dry, all Pakistanis are feeling the effects of the flooding.

"This disaster is of national importance," says Haider Yaqub, Plan Pakistan's Country Director. "A few of our staff have personally had their property flooded, but most of us have not. But that doesn't matter, this is our country and when you see the enormous need of those who have fled their homes and are living wherever and however they can, of course you want to assist in any way possible."I came out to Pakistan four days ago – from our Asia regional office in Bangkok – to support communications around the flood response. The images, video and personal accounts from children and their families who have survived the floods are truly heart-wrenching. The need is immense. So is the desire to help. From the moment I landed in Islamabad, I have been inspired by the passion and unfailing energy of the Plan and partner staff here. People are working long hours and in many cases under extremely difficult conditions to get help to those who have survived the floods. "The sheer scope of this disaster, and how people are spread out across such a huge geographic area, it could overwhelm you if you let it," says Tassadaq Shah, Plan Pakistan's Disaster Risk Reduction and Response Advisor. "For many of our staff and partners, this is the first time they've seen something like this, it impacts them emotionally. But they have worked with these communities before and they know these people, so they find the energy needed to help them. When you see how hard everyone around you is working, it keeps you going."

Many Plan staff are fasting for the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. From sun up to sun down they do not eat or drink, but still they continue to provide assistance to others. In some cases, their efforts to support flood survivors is impacting their religious duties.

"This is the first time in fifteen years that I have been unable to offer my special evening prayers as part of Ramadan," says Imran Shami, Plan Pakistan's Water and Sanitation Advisor. "We have simply been too busy. But it doesn't matter, we are all willing to put the needs of flood survivors before our own at this point."

I have also been extremely moved by the solidarity and concern expressed by my Plan colleagues from around the world. Every day, the team here in Pakistan gets encouraging emails, Skype notes and offers of assistance. And beyond the personal support offered by Plan colleagues from around the globe, the professional help has also been open-handed. Funds, technical expertise, media and communications efforts, staff on loan from other countries – all have been streaming into the country, defying the notions of disaster and donor fatigue.

"The support from the global organization has been strong and steady," says Yaqub. "From the first day, we knew we were not alone."

This experience has really hit home for me; the beauty and power of Plan as a global force for good. We are all just links in a chain – each one of us working in our own location and sphere of expertise, but united in our sincere drive to improve the lives of children.

Plan is a global movement for change, mobilizing millions of people around the world to support social justice for children in developing countries. For more Information on this article visit:

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