By Sardar Khan Niazi
Considering the massive devastation across Pakistan due to the unprecedented rains and the resultant floods, a United Nations ‘Flash Appeal’ is going to be launched simultaneously in Geneva and Islamabad on August 30.
Foreign Office confirmed during the weekly briefing in Islamabad that the UN was going to launch an international appeal for assistance to help the people affected by massive flooding.
To begin with, authorities in Pakistan were slow to react but the latest reports indicate the damage caused by current floods is far greater than the super floods of 2010.
Our seasoned politicians remained contentedly perched upon the red throne. No heart-wrenching pictures of innumerable villages swept away were appealing enough to take the attention away from the unpleasant political struggle. An earsplitting noise of rallies, press conferences, photo sessions, and mad TV appearances pushed the biggest human tragedy out of sight.
Since at first there was not any coordinated national response to fight off the natural calamity, the worse of which is yet to come, pinning hopes on the ruling elite to do their homework for the upcoming dark and dreary winter would be like living in fool’s paradise.
Thousands of acres of destroyed crops and a crippling shortage of nearly every kitchen essential lurk around the corner. The agricultural heartland of Sindh is our major food basket and the vegetable prices have already started touching new highs.
Buying onions and tomatoes at the rate of rupees 250 and 200 per kilogram respectively sounds straight out of an apocalyptic novel. More depressingly, there is no telling what would happen once the present stock is consumed.
The wheat harvest is down by nearly 20 percent while losses to the major cash crop white gold amount to 45 percent. Floods have turned an overwhelming 81 percent of the date crop upside down.
One can hear the voices of unease and distress ringing from afar, as the question about the capacity of a poor country to import a wide array of produce hangs heavy in the air. Can the political circus stop now at least until we are out of the wood? Alternatively, the power struggle to reach the red carpet adds will add to the miseries of millions whose vote is the support of our dear democracy.
It is a moment of great challenge and hardship for Pakistan, as extraordinary rains and floods have caused massive devastation in all parts of the country, including Punjab, and KPK, particularly in Sindh and Baluchistan.
At last, the government announced a state of emergency owing to huge loss of life, property, infrastructure, livestock, and livelihoods. Millions of people lost their homes.
Approximately, people affected by the flood are around 33 million. Almost over a thousand lives have been lost. Rescue and relief operations are facing hitches due to eroded away infrastructure.
The Pakistan Army is utilizing all existing resources to support the civil administration for rescue, relief, and rehabilitation of people and infrastructure in flood-affected areas.
Army medical doctors and paramedic teams are treating flood victims while the troops are also distributing rations and cooked meals to help people in distress.
Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa on Saturday visited flood-affected areas of Baluchistan and went to flood relief and medical camps.
Now the federal and provincial governments and various departments and agencies plus NDMA and PDMAs are leading a coordinated humanitarian response.
On Friday morning, Prime Minister met a group of ambassadors to inform them about the scale of human tragedy. The size of the disaster is so huge that it obviously requires urgent cooperation and support from the international community. Our dear homeland desperately needs help.