Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Flood of the Century?

Not sure if the headline is true but I just read it on BBC website. And I am not particularly shocked after viewing the gory details and the images of what has come to pass. And just now, while I was having my late breakfast (as today is yet another strike by MQM in Karachi) I watched BBC anchorperson discuss with someone from HSBC about Pakistan's economic growth. She asked her how in the world Pakistan can progress if such menacing devastations continue to hamper its growth and wash away its agricultural land (as in this flooding)? Well, HSBC person had no answer to that. And here we are asking for more aid and our good President is out in Paris to discuss bilateral trade and security concerns. How sick is that!

Well, as of now, floods across Frontier and Punjab have killed over 1400 people and made homeless countless others. Every second footage on TV is now showing angry people blocking roads, destroying government properties and shouting in front of foreign media that 'our' government is helpless and useless. And really with no food and shelter that's the case indeed in most parts of Swat (Kalam is one of the worst hit areas), Nowshera and Peshawar, which is cut off from rest of the country.

Pakistan Army has dedicated over 30,000 of its troops for relief operations across the affected areas but people still feel that nothing is being done. That's mostly due to the vastness and remoteness of most of the areas affected by flooding. just imagine a rainfall of over 312mm within a span of 36 hours. And put in one of the largest catchment areas in the world and you have water spilling everwhere, breaking bunds and barrages and bridges and all. But atleast decomcratically elected government should have shown some sense and visited the areas affected by rains and flash floods. No, not at all. Only Army is supposed to do all that. Why, I am not sure.

USA has pledged 10 million USD as aid package to the country and has allowed the use of 4 of its helicopters for aid dropping. But it is the jawans of Pakistan Army and members of Edhi and UNO which have done the bulk of the aid work and it is to them that we salute.

p.s Pakistan Met Office has reported more monsoonal rainfalls across lower Sindh, Punjab and KP proinves. Well, we are in for a bit more hell here.

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