Stories about flood

Chilean miners: A lesson in giving a damn

The joy that the families of the rescued miners in Chile experienced after their members were winched to the surface from a two-month ordeal of being trapped in a coal mine was shared by millions across the globe. And then there was no looking back. As the news poured in on the television screens, it was a delight to watch the happy faces of hundreds of Chileans who had gathered to greet the trapped miners. Even the presence of Chilean President Sebastian Pinera could not lessen the deafening noise of cheers, applause and horns on the sight of every ...

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Flood tax: Leave us alone, go catch tax evaders

So far Pakistan’s economic loss due to the massive flooding is calculated to be$43 billion. This is equivalent to one fourth of the total GDP  which today stands at $170 billion. For Pakistan, where financing the state, military and debt costs more than what we earn, such an enormous loss to the country’s economy has left everyones mouth agape. And it seems that due to the recent economic losses incurred, the dream of increased spending on human development is far from materializing. There is a dire need of funds to finance the relief and rehabilitation work keeping in view that the tax-to-GDP ratio ...

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Not enough money for school

“You will have to pay extra money for dental materials from now on,” our lab teacher announced, as we sat carving partial dentures in hot wax on plaster teeth models in our dental lab. ‘Why?’ was our immediate question. “We have already paid the university such an exorbitant fee, they could surely manage to supply us with the materials in that amount,”said a girl sitting next to me. Others nodded in agreement knowing very well how much they had paid. Since dental materials are not cheap to buy, we were all concerned. Many students were already having difficulty in ...

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Why should I pay a flood tax?

As the flood waters start to recede and the government gears up for rehabilitation, it plans on putting the burden on the tax paying segment of the public. It will be people like you and me who are going to pay flood tax while our friends riding around in SUVs will have a good laugh. The government planned a one time tax that would be deducted from the taxpayers’ salary via property tax, while the 98.4 per cent of the non tax paying population will get away with more than just not paying tax. I, for one, am not in favor of ...

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Rocking for a good cause

“Pakistan kay mayanaaz moseekar Mekaal Hasan Band ab apnay fun ka muzahira karaingay, please zordaar talion say in ka istakbaal karain“ This was the opening line to the Sufi Night organized by the Ministry of Cultural Affairs in association with Pakistan National Council of Arts held at the PNCA auditorium on September 28, 2010. It was an invite only event which was held to raise funds for the flood victims. After the khabarnama style welcome by the host, Mekaal Hasan got on the stage and explained that the performance would be unplugged and people familiar with the set list would recognize the ...

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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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Sindh’s elite must change now

It has become clear that the state of Sindh’s health is desperate.  There is an acute shortage of vaccines, trained paramedical staff including lady health workers. Multi-national pharmaceutical companies are almost inconspicuous in their absence on any visible scale. They are not seen offering any organized flood relief effort. The medicines given for charity maybe in the form of small donations in an individual capacity. Due to lack of clean drinking water, the most vulnerable will be children and women. But as someone who has visited the rural areas pf Sindh (Kaccha, Bela and other rural areas) for the past 40 years ...

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Thinking big at a small age

It was the eve of August 22, when I was at a tent village established by the Scouts in Khairpur. I was reporting from the district as well as volunteering with the Scouts. As I was talking to the IDPs, inquiring about the facilities, one woman said that though they are being supplied with food and shelter, they don’t have any money. Suddenly, a boy standing at a little distance jumped in: “Allah saved us from the floods, we have been brought here, we should be thankful.” This was how I met 11-year-old Ali Haider, a high-spirited, confident and slightly ...

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Photo Essay: Surviving with a smile

I am a traveler. When I was six years old I was flying to the moon in a make-shift cardboard space ship now I travel to Rome, Marakesh and Indonesia in the span of one year. I try not only to immerse myself in a village, city or country but also its soul.  This week end for the first time in my life, I felt like I experienced the soul of Pakistan. At a camp in Sehwan Sharif for internally displaced persons (IDP) I witnessed need, desperation, anguish and pain but also laughter, smiles and gratitude. In the West we associate the ...

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For those who haven’t donated…

I was endlessly going on about how fundraising for the flood survivors has developed into some kind of a competition among various organisations, all indefatigably striving to outdo each other, when my wife suddenly interrupted. “What are you doing to help them?” she said. “Nothing that I know of.” A pause followed. After struggling to find some face-saving answer, I naively replied, “Don’t know yet.” “Donate through an NGO, perhaps?” she suggested. “Hmmm… but I don’t trust them.” “Then what else will you do?” Good question. I wanted to help, make a difference… but how? Perhaps the events that followed the earthquake in the country’s north in ...

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