Protests and rallies are usually marked by loud slogans and burning tyres, but at a protest in Badin, children of the Serani union council were ‘sold’ as a token sign of protest.
The children’s parents, Allah Dino Mallah, Juman Mallah, Ghulam Hussain Mallah and Nawaz Mallah complained that they had been expelled from their relief camp and the government had failed to provide them with food. The monsoon rains have affected 85 per cent of the 1.8 million population and ruined the irrigation and drainage systems. The district government claimed to have distributed more than 200,000 ration bags in the last two weeks.
“We have signed a memorandum of understanding with the Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund (PPAF) for relief work in 13 out of 46 union councils in Badin,” said DCO Kazim Hussain Jatoi. “The district government will stop distributing ration in these union councils from August 28 (today).”
He added that the PPAF will spend roughly Rs200 million which should be distributed between three non-governmental organisations including the National Rural Support Programme (NRSP). Jatoi advised the media to monitor how the NGOs dealt with the money. The NRSP will be responsible for five union councils and the other two NGOs will supervise four each. The Edhi Foundation will also help people in two union councils, using their own funds.
The DCO denied reports which claimed that the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) had allowed the World Food Programme (WFP) to take over relief work in Badin. The Unicef chief field officer Andro Shilakadze told The Express Tribune that the WFP’s support had been sought. “The country’s economic affairs division had requested the United Nations’ WFP humanitarian coordinator for assistance,” he said. Shilakadze added that no other UN agency had been requested to help.
In an interview aired on a Sindhi television channel KTN, Pakistan’s permanent representative to the UN Hussain Haroon criticised the provincial government for refusing UN aid. He claimed that the NDMA and the Provincial Disaster Management Authority did not have enough material to deal with the flood situation in Larh and Thar.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 28th, 2011.