Saturday, July 31, 2010

Disastrous floods in Pakistan

An editorial in (Pakistan): The recent torrential rains have resulted in a truly alarming situation. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, already reeling from escalating terrorism, has in particular been hit hard. Extensive flooding has affected over 400,000 people and killed well over 400….

…The response of disaster management cells and authorities has been slow to say the least, and officialdom has in many areas been conspicuous by its absence in bringing relief. That said, however, it is clear that the scale of the disaster is such that it has inevitably overwhelmed whatever resources are available to bodies such as the National Disaster Management Authority. The thousands of people affected by the rains and floods need help, and need it fast. The stranded need rescuing while those in risk zones need to be evacuated; it is essential that the government divert every possible resource towards this end. Meanwhile, shelter, food, drinking water, medicines and clothing must be distributed without delay. Efforts made in this regard by the government, as well as civil society, could prove invaluable and save lives. The country must mobilise itself to meet the challenges posed by the worst monsoonal disaster seen in decades.

After the initial crisis is weathered, policymakers should turn their attention to the long-term measures required to mitigate the effects of natural disasters….

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