Sabina Bhutto (left) and Asma Soomro were at the edge of raging flood waters a week ago when they received the news flash that their home town Shikarpur was about to be flooded. Relatives reaching them by cellphone implored them to rush home and rescue their belongings. They were right by the rushing water and didn't believe it was headed to Shikarpur. And they were facing an emergency of their own. On the the side of the waters a group of stranded villagers was preparing to ford the flow. Sabina and Asma could see what the villagers couldn't. That the waters were deadly and would sweep them away. They had watched as full-grown buffalo were swept off their feet by the torrent. They stayed were they were to shout directions and assist others struggling for safety as waters from the Indus continued their deadly surge miles beyond the river banks. Ultimately the trapped villagers were persuaded to wait for calmer waters. And happily, as they had hoped, Shikarpur itself was not flooded.
A second night, the women heard news of a group of villagers about to be swept away, left their homes at 10pm and joined the dangerous night-time rescue mission. It took four hours to reach and rescue the stranded party.
Sabina's eyes twinkled as she said: "This past month I have learned what it means to be brave."
Sabina and Asma work for the Sindh Rural Support Organization, whose venerated leader, known simply as Dr Sono, describes them as "my commandants". His team have rescued several thousand villagers and mounted a vast logistics operation to bring cooked food to 60,000 people twice daily. Just one example of the massive effort Pakistanis are making to take care of their own.
Chris Anderson • TED Curator • www.ted.com • "Ideas Worth Spreading"
More news from the Sindh Rural Support Organization here >> www.sindhrsp.org