Stories about flood

Fear and floods in the land of my fathers

My grand father used to tell us about a flood that swept away hundreds of villages in our district, Larkana in 1945. Our family was forced to leave their home and move.  The second flood that hit our area was in 1947 and had the same intensity. Many lost their loved ones and a few elderly men can still recall the devastation. With this dark history, it is little surprise the 2010 floods have caused panic in my village even though it does not fall in the Katcha area. “I have learnt that flood water is coming towards our village! Please tell me where we can ...

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Yes, we can make a difference

If you think running a relief camp is a joke, think again. Do you wish away volunteers who pop up at every corner? Please, don’t. They are there for a reason. Two weeks ago, I was spending what was a very boring afternoon with a jet-lagged aunt, who, for some odd reason was very worked up about the floods in Khyber-Pakhtukhwa. As news about the death toll poured in, and she started arranging for boats, I thought that, maybe – just maybe – something more tragic than the airplane crash had happened. However, as news poured in over the course of the week ...

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How the flood disaster will be remembered

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 ...

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Good fishing in flood waters

Some of the things our countrymen have done in the aftermath of the flash floods, the plane crash and the ethnically motivated violence are stark examples of how far people will go to benefit from other peoples’ misery. It is ‘good fishing in troubled waters’ according to the Spanish – well, flood waters in our case – who believe that humans have a gift for profiting from the general misfortune of others. So far, we have not proved them wrong. When flash floods forced people to leave Kot Addu, bus drivers charged them up to Rs15,000 for a ride to ...

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The most expensive Ramazan ever

The holy month of Ramazan has arrived with pre-dawn prayers, iftar’s and frantic efforts to make up for every sin committed during the rest of the year. For most of us, religious fervor is accompanied with more worldly pleasures like delicious parathas, traditional khajla and pheni to be devoured at sehri and the innumerable delights of Iftar. Would Ramazan even feel like Ramazan if not for the daily dose of fruit chat and the onion and potato pakoras and samosas? Traditional Ramazan fare has long fed the greed of hoarders and profiteers. But this year man made shortages have been eclipsed  by a natural destruction of an unbelievable ...

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What shoe-throwing won’t achieve

Tired due to the prolonged special transmission on flood relief, I was trying to unwind in my office when a senior colleague came dancing to my chamber. “What is the good news?” I asked him thinking of some big accomplishment in relief efforts. “Someone has thrown a shoe at Zardari!” he exclaimed in joy. I was simply shocked. Here was a career journalist, otherwise supposed to be neutral, and tasked with overall responsibility of the office, absolutely radiant with joy, over an incident of national humiliation if not petty worth. I immediately switched my television on to learn more. The media was ...

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The mathematics of disaster

Can anyone – anyone at all – in this country do some simple math? The Pakistani premier, Yusuf Raza Gilani (whom I imagine all those wonderfully enlightened Zardari-bashers will vote for in the next election, given how badly they wanted someone on the ground, overlooking the relief efforts… what’s that? You don’t vote at all?) has said that 132,000 square kilometers of Pakistani territory has been affected by these floods. According to Wikipedia, Pakistan’s total territory cover 803,940 km-sq. Sixteen percent of our total landmass is currently inundated with water. And that’s just KP and Punjab. By the time that flood hits ...

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The disaster waiting in Sindh’s wings

An overview of the latest media reports indicates preventive measures are being taken to avert the floods that are expected in Sindh. River embankments have been strengthened and evacuation schemes have been executed lest any contingencies come forth. But prior to addressing the consequences of this natural disaster, it is important to consider the probability of its occurrence. It is vital to draw upon precedents of severe flooding in the region and their devastating outcomes. Mansoor Raza’s essay, Disasters and Sindh offers insight into the multiple disasters that have plagued the province, including floods. It is here that he succinctly ...

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Where do we stand?

The Express Tribune website recently ran an online poll asking visitors if they had made an effort to help flood victims in the current crisis. The results were a clear indication of the state of apathy our society seems to be sinking into: 92 per cent responded with a “No”, while only eight per cent said “Yes”. For most of us, our lives revolve around the little worlds we have created for ourselves. So it’s always my family, my friends, my career, my home and my job that occupy our time and attention. Seldom are we able to step out ...

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Floods and selective silence in the blogosphere

As I write these lines, the latest reports put the death toll from floods at some 1,100 with 1.5 million affectees and some 100,000 plagued by diseases like cholera. Most of those affected are stranded at remote areas, away from safety, with no food or shelter or clean water and with no access to medical facilities. The waters still rage on and more villages are vulnerable to disaster, risking yet many more thousands of lives. However, I am appalled by the utterly careless, stolid response of the Pakistan media in general and the blogosphere in particular towards this issue. While ...

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