In the wake of disasters, neighbours are often an invaluable source of support – both as individuals and as neighbouring countries. And this has certainly been the case with the Pakistan floods, with much assistance being provided by Iran.
“The extent of human suffering resulting from this disaster is self evident,” said Zaher Rostami, Secretary General of the Red Crescent Society of the Islamic Republic of Iran, during a visit to flood-affected areas.
The Iranian Red Crescent has been present in Pakistan since the early days of the disaster. An assessment team visited affected areas and sent back reports to design a work plan.
Since then, the Iranian Red Crescent has established 22 relief camps for displaced families in the provinces of Sindh, Punjab and Baluchistan. Each camp can accommodate between 50 and 270 displaced families within the perimeter, and 1,000 families outside. It also donated 21,263 tents to the Pakistan Red Crescent and the International Federation, including 15,000 tents for displaced families.
“Clinics are an essential part of relief camps. Both are, by their nature, temporary, but beneficiaries cannot be expected to cope on their own once a camp closes,” says Rostami.
“The Iranian Red Crescent has, therefore, decided to continue its health services through long-term medical centres. This will, ultimately, provide better quality services to people in need.”
The Iranian Red Crescent has recently signed a memorandum of understanding with the Pakistan Red Crescent. It focuses on establishing three medical centres with supplies of medicine and medical equipment, sharing experiences and exchanging technical knowledge by training PRCS disaster management staff and volunteers. Seven medical clinics are already operational, and through these clinics, Iranian teams have provided healthcare and psychosocial support to almost 50,000 patients.
“Our priority is to help people resettle quickly, to provide life-saving items, and to stop the outbreak of disease to other areas with quick healthcare treatment,” says Rostami. “Our focus is on the strategic value of our assistance and involvement in terms of time and speed.”
“The Iranian Red Crescent has been here to help us any time we experience a disaster. Through them, we gain a lot of strength, especially during these times of crisis,” says Ateeb Siddiqui, the Pakistan Red Crescent's director of operations.
“As Iranians, we will continue to stand beside the people of Pakistan during this difficult time,” adds Rostami.