Saturday, September 24, 2011

The lessons we never learn

Farooq Abbasi in a blog on (Pakistan): Almost a year from now, I remember browsing through images of the Pakistan flood victims as I sat alone in the night shift at work. I saw the hopelessness in the faces of the victims, and today I see similar expressions on this year’s flood affectees as a video plays in front of me on the television screen – a troubling reminder of government negligence perhaps?

The 2010 floods were obviously the first of its kind in Pakistan and took every one by surprise. It’s a shame that a year later we haven’t learnt at all and a large number of people are affected again. According to various government officials, this year at least 270 people have died in Sindh, 5.3 million people and 1.2 million homes have been affected and 1.7 million acres of crops have been destroyed.

In a recent television interview with DawnNews the Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD)’s Director Dr Muhammad Hanif confessed negligence in issuing a warning last year, however he said an early warning was issued for the floods to all the stake holders this year. So the question is why didn’t the responsible authorities take preventive measures?

...Looking at the comparison it is interesting to note that the areas that somehow were spared last year from the devastation are now the most affected areas by the rain-triggered-floods. The severe rains caused an overflow in the Tarbela and Mangla dams as the water level exceeded the capacity of the dams.

More than a year after the 2010 calamity, over 800,000 families remained without permanent shelter, according to aid group Oxfam, and more than a million people needed food assistance....

A US helicopter near the Tarbela Dam during the 2010 floods in Pakistan, shot by Paul Duncan, U.S. Marine Corps

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