One more test for flood survivors

Hundreds of thousands of Pakistanis will be spending this Ramazan in relief camps instead of their homes.

Umar Ali August 12, 2010

PESHAWAR: Hundreds of thousands of Pakistanis will be spending this Ramazan in relief camps instead of their homes that they had to abandon to survive the country’s worst floods in living memory.

According to the World Food Programme, an estimated four million people face food shortages and the United Nations says that six million Pakistanis need ‘survival’ aid. The international community has pledged tens of millions of dollars – but much more will be needed to set Pakistan back on track. Citizens have remained just as active in collecting funds and relief goods. In unaffected areas, Pakistanis have even started organising their own relief campaigns.

“There isn’t enough food and at the onset of Ramazan, we really want to make sure that the flood survivors have enough to eat. They have no homes and all the supply routes have been disrupted so the first priority is to make sure that food is available to them,” volunteer Shoaib Khalil told The Express Tribune.

In Nowshera, the worst hit city of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, mobs of desperate people can be seen. For the citizens, the month of Ramazan, which challenges both spiritual and physical endurance makes its way, for locals it will be just one more test.

“I swear to God that other than this, I have not received anything else in the past ten days,” a survivor said, holding up two bags of wheat. “But still, I will give one bag to someone else and only take the other home.”

“We have nothing and it will remain this way during Ramazan too,” said another survivor. “Everybody here is very poor, most of our houses have been wiped out or damaged, and nobody comes here to give us any food,” he said.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 12th, 2010.


Malik Tariq Ali | 11 years ago | Reply It is unfortunate that both civil and military rulers of Pakistan have been politicising the dams. It seems that dams do not look attractive to those for whom kickbacks and commissions is more important than national interests. It takes a minimum of 5 to 8 years to complete a dam, so why wait for that long a period for the money to be deposited in your account. On the other hand thermal power stations complete within 2 years at the most and the bulk of rewards in kickbacks is immediate. The dam politics has been exploited so much, that most of the population consider this to be some sort of evil. The propaganda that dam construction would entail submersion of large tracts of land under water was exploited to build up sentiments against their construction. Of course a dam construction involves hundreds of acres of land to be acquired at the site, where the dam is built. This happens all over the world, where dams are constructed. Had few large dams been built the damage of the super floods would have been manageable. At least 1,500 lives could have been saved, alongwith hundreds of thousands of acres of cultivable land with standing crops. Now the land submerged will take at least two years before they could be cultivated properly for maximum yield. Those who deliberately obstructed the construction of dams have blood on their hands. Hundreds of towns and cities have been submerged under several feet of water. Thousands of homes have been swept away alongwith crops, animals and property. The world all over has built dams to control floods. It is strange that those who had opposed the dams survived the floods, while millions of innocents have been made homeless.
Farukh Sarwar | 11 years ago | Reply Ramadan being considered as a month of patience has brought another test of patience for the flood affectees. I hope they pass it easily, because the weather is also not favorable.
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