Stories about floods

One year after the floods

A year has passed since the worst disaster in Pakistan’s history. Last year’s floods caused by monsoon rains, submerged close to a fifth of the country’s total area underwater, directly affected about 20 million people, destroyed livestock, crop, property and infrastructure with a death toll of nearly 2000. The total economic damage was estimated to be close to 43 Billion U.S dollars and the occurrence was termed by the UN Secretary-General as one of the worst disasters he had ever seen. Before Pakistan was called the world’s most ‘dangerous’ country by the western media (after the May 2nd incident), it ...

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A consensus on water

I was one of some 30 journalists from all parts of Pakistan who recently spent five days together in Swat to discuss water and flood-related issues. Swat was the place where one of the most devastating floods in the country’s history originated last year so it was a befitting venue for a talk on water and flood-related issues. Almost every one of these journalists has covered and witnessed the devastation caused by the floods. The geographical areas that they covered might have been different but the miseries and their scale that the reporters based their stories upon were more or less ...

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Why job creation alone isn’t going to save Pakistan

Pakistan is a land of opportunity, but also has many needs.  It is critical to create jobs in this country, but it would be an error to believe that jobs alone will solve the issue of poverty. An article from Business Week titled, “A silver lining in Pakistan’s floods” states that “this natural disaster may have given the country an opportunity to tackle a recurring point of contention in Pakistan—feudalism.” The author states that aid money going to Pakistan should focus on job-creation strategies in addition to housing. She argues that the provision of jobs in relief work and an emphasis on business training ...

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Hungry in the mountains: the trials of GB’s flood survivors

In the summer months, Pakistan’s remote Gilgit Baltistan is busy with mountaineers climbing the world’s highest mountains. Some head to K2, the second highest on earth, while others are off tackling Nanga Parbat or the Killer Mountain, a much-feared peak.  Other travelers explore legendary glaciers, meadows of rare flowers and old forts in a spectacular region that is home to the Himalayas, the Hindu Kush, the Pamir and the Karakoram ranges. On the way to K2, mountaineers will drive through the little village of Youno. Draped by snow-speckled mountains, life is bucolic with bleating sheep meandering under tall green and gold ...

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Sexy people need to care about Pakistan

I must admit that the number of flood awareness related display pictures, events and links shared on Facebook have significantly decreased even though the problem, itself, has not. Display pictures have changed from victims submerged in water or looking up at helicopters for food or to be rescued to people joyfully posing at weddings and parties. My events page, once full of requests from charity organisers, is now dominated by clothes exhibitions. This gradual change left me with slight grief as I realised that we had hit a saturation point – done what we felt we could and now wanted to ...

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All Pakistanis are fighters? I think not!

As a nation, we have administered euthanasia to our collective conscience. There are three general categories of people that dwell in this land of pure: the elite-educated or otherwise; the educated class and the uneducated mortals. The elite have a conscience, but they never allow it to get the best of them, therefore, they can be forgiven for their beliefs. The uneducated can also be forgiven, because conscience alone cannot bring food to their tables. That leaves us with the so-called educated class, largely consisting of puritans. There is simply no excuse for their behavior. We, the educated people of this country, ...

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Survivors, not killers

Pakistan is a brave nation. It takes a lot of guts for a people to continue on after a year that can only be called the year of death: 8,000 people have died in Pakistan this year – devastating floods, a dumbfounding air crash, deplorable target killings and decimating suicide bombings. And the year hasn’t even ended yet. Those from northern Pakistan have had it the worst. The year opened with a deadly blast that killed 94 people who had gathered to watch a volleyball match in Lakki Marwat in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, quashing all hopes that Pakistanis had had that this ...

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October 24, 2010
 Natasha Raheel

Floods: Being aware of our responsibility

The floods have come and gone, and it seems only two kinds of people remember what exactly happened. The first are the victims, of course, since they lost pretty much everything they owned. The others are those who think they did a remarkable job by contributing and volunteering in the relief activities. That is not to say that many individuals and organisations have not gone beyond the call of duty to help out their fellow human beings. But as the affected population returns to their washed and in some cases waterlogged land, some who take pride in their contributions are ...

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Hungry for some rights

The fundamental right of the citizen to food, shelter and water is enshrined in the constitution. With an increasing number of people falling below the poverty line – without any social safety nets in place – the number of hungry men, women and children has rapidly increased in the last decade. The extreme disparity between the rich and poor, a lack of employment opportunities and a serious shortage of skilled labour has caused a rise in the number of hungry people in the country. The cost of living Factory owners hire workers on a contractual basis and avoid offering them benefits awarded to full-time employees, especially in Karachi. This forces ...

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Flood relief: Does any one still care?

It has been a few months since floods ravaged one fifth of Pakistan. Immediately, massive campaigns were launched to collect money and supplies to help victims. But slowly, this spirit has died down. Now there are  just a few reminders every now and then that survivors need your help. So what exactly happened? What went wrong? And how the hell have we all just come to terms with one fifth of our countrymen being homeless and living off international donor assistance? Well, there are a couple of things that happened that led to this. Firstly, from day one rather than talking of rehabilitation ...

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