Stories about flood relief

Flood relief: A US helicopter pilot’s tale

I am an American helicopter pilot in Pakistan.  My colleagues and I came because Pakistan and its people are enduring the aftermath of a devastating flood.  We were ordered to be here, and we miss our homes, but most of us are glad to help because we believe it’s the right thing to do. I did not know much about Pakistan before I arrived here.  I knew of the food.  I knew of monsoons and Mohenjo Daro, Karachi and the Khyber Pass, but I had no concept of what Pakistan looked, felt, or sounded like. I even thought many Pakistanis ...

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What really happened at Nasdaq?

A recent popular story concerning Pakistan’s Consul General in New York, Mr Babar Hashmi, is circulating on news channels, newspapers and internet blogs. According to the story on August 25, 2010, the Nasdaq Stock Market, an American stock exchange, offered the consul general an hour of free-of-charge use of its seven-storey tall MarketSite Tower, a massive video display in Times Square in New York, to broadcast an appeal for Pakistan’s flood victims. Given the high visibility of the display, it was expected that this would garner at least one million dollars in donations. Hashmi, allegedly squandered the opportunity by ...

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When desperation knocks

Delivering flood relief is half the job. The other half should be the restoration of human dignity. Flood victims look hopefully at each relief truck that passes by willing to run for miles until it stops. The people have genuine grievances too. They want to know when they will find their 7-year-old child who went missing 3 weeks ago. They want to know why their NIC reads that they have been born 5 years ago due to a typing error and thus are deprived from  getting rations in lines that demand to see identification. They want to have clean ...

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Shabana’s baby didn’t have to die

Shabana, a resident of Jampur gave birth to baby boy on a charpoy kept beside the road, aided only by her mother-in-law. The women had no medicines and the environment was far from sterile. The new born only survived a few hours and now Shabana’s health is deteriorating every day. Despite the challenges her family stubbornly refuses to move to a camp simply because they don’t want to move any further away from the ruins of what was once their home. Unfortunately, the plight of expectant mothers in the flood zone has not been discussed enough. According to the World Health ...

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The conditional humanity of Taliban

The Taliban have a humane side. No, I’m not kidding. It must be humanity that prompted the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan to offer $20 million for the aid of flood victims and distribute relief goods. The scenario baffles the mind. Imagine the TTP in Swat, one of the worst hit areas. I assume victims would be directed to line up at Khooni Chowk in Mingora. I can imagine TTP workers shouting “All those who adhere to our brand of Islam, line up for aid. Anyone who dares to defy us, can go drown in the raging waters.” Obviously, this generous $20 million offer comes with a catch. The aid is available ...

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