Deluge and disappointment

The devastating floods in Pakistan seem to have a long way to go before they end up in the Arabian Sea. After playing havoc with the northern provinces of Khyber-Pakhtoonkhwa and Punjab, the deluge is now making life miserable for millions in the southern provinces of Sindh and Balochistan.

What, however, irks is to see that adequate measures were lacking to evacuate people from low-lying areas even before the high stream came down their way. Keeping aside succour activities from the country’s armed forces and a couple of voluntary organisations, the government’s gigantic machinery seems to be missing to a great extent. Moreover, there are reports of misappropriation and delay in disbursing relief goods to the flood-victims, exposing them to hunger and disease altogether. The swirling water in the southern villages and towns on the mouth of sea near Karachi threatens to not only inundate the agrarian landmass for a considerable period of time, but also vanish them as living space for ages. This sea’s reclaiming of land will give birth to many more socio-economic issues in provinces, which are politically on the edge.

Irrespective of funds being funneled in the government’s exchequer, its usage is a point of concern for the donors and international community. The government of Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, which had earlier committed to form a panel of impeccable personalities to foresee the aid funds and disbursement, has gone back on its promises. This politics of exigency is unwarranted at a time when the calamity-hit nation is in need of generous international assistance to help rebuild it from the scratch. The gushing monsoon, unprecedented in almost a century, had pushed almost 30 per cent of Pakistan’s landmass back into the Stone Age, with communication infrastructure, buildings, roads and livestock down and out. Similarly, media reports concerning logistical and administrative problems being faced by foreign voluntary bodies are quite worrisome.

At the same time, complaints by the locals in Sindh province about water stream being diverted to save lands of affluent politicians is tantamount to sabotage.

The countrywide mess at the hands of deluge and destruction is in need of being addressed on a priority basis. Hundreds and thousands of children and women are faced with severe malnutrition problems, and that along with the change of climate and more monsoon rains could prove to be lethal. An assessment study could help the government and international donors plan for reconstruction and rehabilitation activities in a more practical and feasible manner. As an immediate recourse, millions out there shelter-less and starving need to be provided with amenities of life.

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