Remembering flood victims

Published: March 26, 2012

What is important about the visit by the American actor, and those accompanying him, is the evidence that the international community has not totally forgotten the flood victims. PHOTO: AGENCIES

Most people in the country may have forgotten about the flood victims of Sindh, in spite of repeated reports from humanitarian agencies. A recently released report of the International Organisation for Migration warns us that in several districts of Sindh thousands of people are still unable to reach their home because villages and roads are still under water. It would come as a relief to the people of the Badin district then — one of the areas worst hit by the 2011 flood — to know that not everyone has cast them away into distant memory.

The visit by Hollywood actor and director Sean Penn and an eight-member US diplomatic mission may not have sent people rushing up to the star for autographs. Few in the remote villages that he visited would have ever seen the films he has made. But, nevertheless, the visit must come as some kind of solace to people who suffer a great deal. Penn and other members of the delegation, which included the US consul-general to Karachi, inquired about the health and educational facilities available to the flood victims. Many of the victims explained that a key concern was livelihood and the question of how to restore badly damaged lands. The US mission, meanwhile, spoke of the assistance already given to the flood victims of Sindh with 1.2 million people provided food and another 1.6 million with water. But the mere spouting out of figures and also a possible US effort to win over friends in a country where it has many enemies does little to reassure the victims.

What is important about the visit by the American actor, and those accompanying him, is the evidence that the international community has not totally forgotten the flood victims. This should be a lesson for our own government which needs to do much more to ensure life return to normal for all those displaced by the floods and that they have access to the basic needs of life. This has not happened so far and amends need to be quickly made.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 26th, 2012.

Reader Comments (3)

  • MarkH
    Mar 26, 2012 - 5:48AM

    “But the mere spouting out of figures and also a possible US effort to win over friends in a country where it has many enemies does little to reassure the victims.”

    Though some political players were there, it’s fairly safe to say it wasn’t a direct attempt at winning the victims over. The order was probably Penn wanting to and then others saying it can’t hurt to send some others with him with more of a “no negative result but a positive one if anything does come of it, why not?” mindset.
    Our celebrities have a weird habit of visiting areas with third world conditions. It doesn’t seem like it should be headline worthy (even an especially in the US) but, not being oblivious to my surroundings even just standing in a checkout line at a store, I can say many others would disagree with me.
    And since it could be taken the wrong way, when I say it shouldn’t be headline worthy I mean others do things like that every day without a shred of news about it. It’s like celebrities have magical powers to some people, enhancing all in which they’re involved.

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  • A.Khan
    Mar 26, 2012 - 11:43AM

    I think Sean Penn has different ideology about what is happening in the world than US politicians. I admire Sean and George Clooney on that.

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  • Adnan
    Mar 26, 2012 - 1:33PM

    The man is a HERO! One of the few people in Hollywood who publicly opposed Bush’s invasion of Iraq. Also, supported Argentina’s claim to the Falkland Islands- The Malvinas- and angered the Brits!

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