Khorwah Medical Camp, Views of Shakiba Shelley

One could perhaps be forgiven for thinking that a off road trip to set up a medical camp for the villagers of Pakistan would be a mixture of mosquitoes, no running water and intense heat.  THINK AGAIN !!!.

As an Angraise, I found the whole experience to be both, humbling and exciting.

The whole journey started off from the Founders of the ‘Off Road Karachi Club’, sumptuous house in Karachi.  A convoy of five robust but yet luxurious jeeps set off for fun and adventure.  More vehicles became added to our convoy at later stages.

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Khorwah Medical Camp

Photographs from offroadpakistan’s medical camp in the village of Khorwah, district Badin in Sindh. The group included doctors, veterinarians and volunteers from Karachi who were selfless in their efforts to give back to a community. Hand pumps were also distributed.

Photos courtesy afewmofilms.com. Click here for the photo gallery. Writeups of the camp are incoming:

Help OffroadPakistan’s Flood Relief

Handed out food packages

OffroadPakistan and friends have put together an effort to help people effected by the floods in Pakistan. We are providing relief ourselves (delivery and distribution) in Sindh area. Right now it’s food and essentials and temporary shelter. Next we would support run a refugee camp (our choosing of location) providing food, water, medicines/medical camps, clothing etc. Later help some really needful families to rebuilt their homes etc.

Since we are not an NGO, we have got the help of Behbood Association (local NGO) working far last 35 years – they have set up a separate account for us, they will manage, supervise and audit for us.

If any one wants to help contribution can be sent to this account (details here)

Please pass it on to friends!

Hamid Omar

Life is miserable with everything under water from the flood

OffroadPakistan working together with Behbood

To find out more check these out:

Submerged house in Jamshoro

Happy to have received food enough for two meals.

One of the many tent cities

Photo by Ali Khurshid for OffroadPakistan

There is water everywhere, and this water will stay a while

CNN on 4×4 Offroaders Club Karachi’s Flood Relief Efforts

CNN Flood victims wait for food and water at a makeshift camp in Sukkur on August 23, 2010

Holly Yan of CNN caught up with our 2nd relief trip on August 24th and spoke with Offroaders Awab Alvi and Faisal Kapadia:

(CNN)—“Everywhere we go we see eight to 10 feet of water,” said Kapadia, who traveled through inundated villages between Shikarpur and Sukkur. “All we see are the tops of houses.”

Just a month ago, Kapadia was a recreational rider in the 4×4 Offroaders Club of Karachi. He didn’t expect to use his off-roading skills to deliver life-saving supplies to flood victims across nearly impassible terrain and waters.

“We never thought of that,” Kapadia said. “But when you see things happen like this, you can’t just sit on the side and watch thousands of people die.”

So club members, family and friends raised money for supplies to the neediest survivors.

So far the 4×4 Offroaders Club of Karachi has distributed 100 tents and about eight truckloads of food.

Photo credit: CNN

Pakistan Flooding 2010: link blog

Photo by Ali Khurshid for OffroadPakistan

So far at least 1,500 killed, 14-20 million affected, 3.5 million children at health risk, nearly 1 million houses damaged, and $1-2 billion upwards of crop damage. Possibly the low numbers of people killed has resulted in the lackluster international response. A timeline is here.

Most comprehensive source for information is ReliefWeb’s Pakistan Floods page. Frequent updates on news, situation, maps (lots of maps), and funding.

Dave’s Landslide Blog—an excellent overview of how the flooding began: The regular seasonal monsoon rains started on July 27th, initially impacting the Khyber-Pakhtoonkhwa province (formerly NWFP). The following graph shows the sudden increase in rainfall in that region from July 29th.

Unprecendented increase in rainfall in Pakistan

“The loss of life appears to have been the result of a combination of losses in the main rivers and their tributaries, flash floods in upper catchments, collapses of mud brick houses, and landslides.”—Dave’s Landslide Blog.

Downstream the impact of the incredibly heavy rainfall on the Indus River catchment shows increased inflows.

Indus River System Hydrograph on 1st August

Daily rainfall records from the Pakistan Meteorological Department—you can map your own data! Compare the rainfall over the July and August 2008 and 2009 with what we see now. The worst seems to be behind us.

Devastating floods cut off parts of Pakistan: “Shelter, plastic sheeting and household goods are the most important gap. Stocks need to be urgently airlifted to the affected areas.”—DAWN

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Flood Relief

The earthquake’s that have hit Pakistan in 2005 and 2008 were regarded as the worst tragedy for the nation. Few have realized that the recent floods have in fact caused more damage then those earthquakes did. As per latest reports official figures stand at 1600 dead and 20 million left homeless.

The Monsoon rains began three weeks ago and have washed away roads, bridges and communications lines, hampering rescue efforts by aid organizations and the government. The downpours have grounded many aircraft trying to rescue people and ferry aid.

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Off-roading to Hingol

I stood there amongst the trees, the wind moving through the leaves, making a whistling sound. The entire campsite was bathed in bright moonlight, so bright that you did not need a torch to cook something. Before me, the Hingol River flowed along lazily between the mountains, a silver serpent in a landscape that is otherwise harsh.

This reads like an excerpt from a fiction novel, does it not? Well one need only travel 240 kilometres from Karachi to make this fiction a reality. That is, if you have the gumption to make it out to Hingol National Park in Balochistan.

I recently had the chance to do so with the team of adventure travellers known as Offroad Pakistan. I refer to them as a team and not a group of individuals because that’s what they are, and that’s what one needs to make it through the terrain of Balochistan, which comprises bogs, jungle, mountains, and quicksand with a few wahgus (local slang for crocodiles) standing in as an audience. On this trip, the team included inventors, photojournalists, lawyers, doctors and a few lowly scribes such as myself, all with one thing in common: “the love of nature.”

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The ultimate offroad camping list

There are camping lists, and then there are camping lists. This is one of those. There is the minimalistic school of thought which believes in grabbing just a shotgun and a wallet and heading off into the bush – but if like us, you get off the city to take a break and enjoy, than it’s nice to have all the essentials (and more!) along.

Keep this in mind – You must take everything you might possibly need from home – there is nothing (except oxygen) available on the way! Be prepared to change tires, dig your 4×4 out from a lot of mud, and other such goodies.

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Concordia: The world’s greatest museum of shape and form

“The world’s greatest museum of shape and form” is how Italian mountaineer/author Fosco Maraini described Concordia in his book, Karakoram. Galen Rowell called it the “Throne of the Mountain Gods”. Come 2007, somehow or the other, 5 of us from Karachi ended up hiking to Concordia, and on to K2 base camp.

Click here to see the pictures of the hike along with captions, and go here to see the travelogue of the hike.

4×4 Offroaders Club of Karachi