Saturday, September 11, 2010

Pakistani flood victims languish at end of Ramadan

Nadeem Sarwar in Monsters & Critics: Millions of Pakistan's flood victims on Saturday celebrated Eid-al-Fitr, the end of the holy month of Ramadan, at temporary shelters in relief camps or in the open, many with little food or water. The worst floods in the country's history have swamped one-fifth of the country, killed over 1,700 and left more than 2 million homeless, according to the United Nations.

The deluge has also destroyed millions of hectares of crops. Eight million people rely on food supplied by government or aid agencies. Pakistan has been sluggish in providing relief to the flood survivors, who have criticised the government as they celebrated Eid-al-Fitr at the relief camps across country. Aid from the world community has also been very slow.

…Many of the flood victims were not interested in celebrating the most important festival in the Islamic calendar…. The government urged citizens to avoid festivities at Eid and celebrate it with simplicity. Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and opposition leader Nawaz Sharif visited some relief camps and met the affected people.

'This year's Eid festival is being celebrated on such a moment of history, when a large part of country is under the devastation caused by pre-Ramadan floods,' Gilani said. 'Millions of fellow countrymen are homeless and facing severe difficulties.'

…But those few symbolic acts were limited and provided little respite for millions of helpless people. Around 125 kilometers south-east of Karachi, dozens of half-naked children sat on graves in the Makli Hill burial ground, with no hint it was a Eid. Their parents were too busy fetching water from a tanker that had arrived after two days, the refugees were running out of water.

…Few families have been given tents by the government or the UN aid organizations. Most of them stay in the open, in the scorching heat or monsoon rains. At night, they struggle to protect the children from poisonous snakes and scorpions….

Map of Pakistan flooding by Kmhkmh, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative CommonsAttribution 3.0 Unported license

1 comment:

Beam me up Scotty said...

It breaks my heart that the plight of these people has not stirred the interest of MSM.
Haiti... 24/7, this, almost nothing.