How the flood disaster will be remembered

Published: August 12, 2010

A boy holds his sibling as flood victims wait on the roadside for food handouts. PHOTO: REUTERS

Almost 50 per cent of the population suffering from the floods are children. These people are without food and shelter, making survival unpredictable. This effects all of us. In order to minimise the impact of the tough times ahead, the citizens of Pakistan need to adhere to strict rules.

By now almost every citizen, including the government machinery is involved in providing relief with whatever means and resources available.

Private, international, political and state fund collections are open for donations, and some people  have already performed commendable life saving evacuation procedures. Relief activities for daily delivery of food, water and medicine continue. The same effort is extended by unions, groups, business men and civil society for the collective benefit of the people of Pakistan.

This disaster cannot be measured at present. It will take months before we could understand the actual loss off life and assess the damage done to the agricultural produce and basic infrastructure.

While the international community continues to pledge relief, by the time this aid makes it out of the hands of the corrupt bureaucracy and into the hands of the affected, it will already be too late and probably too little.

Health organisations fear the outbreak of a variety of water borne diseases amongst the affected; these diseases have the potential to spread very quickly, and force many more deaths, especially amongst the 6 million children that have been affected.

If we fail to control the flood crisis then we will be faced by the ugly reality that our country will no longer be the Pakistan we are used to. It is time to accept that in the coming days we may lose the country that has emerged ever since the change in government in 2008.

We should realise that for a while there will be a shortage of almost everything that is needed to survive a regular day. When available, it will be expensive and we may be be standing in endless queues to get basic necessities.

A large portion of livestock has been swept away by water, and those that remain face a shortage of food. Soon these animals will either die naturally or be slaughtered.

Pakistan faces a serious crisis, and all of us need to save up and contribute to the rehabilitation of these temporarily displaced persons. Neither the government nor the international community will ever be able to match what you and I can do for Pakistan.

Despite the current cash crunch, we face uncertainty and insecurity routinely. We have to help somehow or the other, and individually work harder to generate a larger amount than we can possibly spare right now. This is not the type of disaster where we can donate and move on. It will need our attention on regular intervals in the coming months.

Who you choose to offer your donations to is up to you. We need to make an effort to sacrifice for our country. We must cut down on spending on items we can live without, which are not a necessity for survival, until we have come out of this crisis. In other words if you spend Rs1,000 in a month, try living within a budget of Rs900 (even though inflation will rise) for at least the next 6 months. Keep this money to give to organisations or the state, who will be involved with rebuilding and rehabilitation. This Rs100 saved by 160 million itself will get us back on our feet once again.

What is happening now will be written in history, Social Studies, Geography, and Pakistan Studies books which our future generations will be studying in the coming years of this great nation.

Let’s make them proud!

You can donate Rs10 to help affectees by texting ‘D’ to 2471. To learn more about how to help visit D for Donate. 


Syed Ali Raza Abidi

A businessman who writes on politics and civic issues. He completed his masters in business administration from Boston University. He tweets @abidifactor.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.