Pakistan struggles to get flood victims out of danger

Discussion in 'Pakistan' started by ifii, Aug 9, 2010.

  1. ifii

    ifii Tihar Jail Banned

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    ALIF KACHA, Pakistan (Reuters) - A woman in a village swallowed up by Pakistan's floods held her unconscious child after it was bitten by a poisonous snake. [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
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  3. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    UN declares Pak floods worst in UN's History


    Although the current 1,600 death toll in Pakistan represents a tiny fraction of the estimated 610,000 people killed in the three previous events, some two million more people - 13.8 million – have suffered losses requiring long or short-term help.

    Maurizio Giuliano, a spokesman for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said: "This disaster is worse than the tsunami, the 2005 Pakistan earthquake"

    The comparison illustrates the scale of the crisis facing Pakistan as its inefficient and corrupt bureaucracy battles to mitigate the effects of the flooding.

    The disaster zone stretches from the Swat Valley in the north, where 600,000 people are in need of help, to Sindh in the south.

    Billions of pounds will be needed to rebuild affected areas but western nations have pledged only tens of millions in aid. Radical Islamic groups are jockeying to fill the vacuum left by government incompetence and relative international indifference.

    Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, formerly North-West Frontier Province and scene of a bloody Taliban insurgency, has been devasted by swollen rivers. The steel girder bridge over the Khyali River in Charsadda which built by the British at the height of the Raj is a jagged stump. It was a vital gateway to the region and its loss has hampered the aid effort.

    "There are people here who are 80 and who will tell you that they have seen nothing like it in their lives," said Arif Jabbar Khan, leading the Oxfam team in the town. "This was a productive agricultural area with a big middle class who have now lost everything. The effect of that will be enormously destabilizing. There was a riot in town as people demanded food."

    Beneath it, the brown waters of the swollen Khyali, three times its normal width, thundered southward over what had been homes and farms.

    The problems here are being replicated across Pakistan. Of the population of 1.7 million, some one million have been made destitute by the flooding. The government has managed to distribute 10,000 food packs in the 10 days since the disaster. They will feed just 80,000 people.

    Flood victims stand around homeless, aimless, their clothes covered in sticky red mud. The river thunders on, oblivious.

    "The reaction in the west to this crisis has been lukewarm so far," said Mr Khan. "The governments there need to understand what is going on." Meanwhile Mr Khan must get on with the basics, pouring chlorine into wells to prevent the spread of e-coli and cholera, and organizing payments to families so that they can buy food in Charsadda's still-functioning market.

    The nearby city of Peshawar relies on the area for much of its food, and prices are now rocketing in the markets there – as they are along the length of Pakistan.

    Still more people were dying yesterday in Pakistan's remote mountainous northern provinces, swept away in the torrent or buried in landslides.

    The government in Islamabad has admitted that cannot cope with such a catastrophe, but the international response has been lukewarm.

    Yousuf Raza Gilani, Pakistan's prime minister, left to deal with the crisis while his president, Asif Ali Zardari, toured Britain and France, said the floods would set Pakistan back years.

    Jean-Maurice Ripert, the United Nations special envoy for the disaster, said the scale of funding for Pakistan's recovery could only escalate. He said: "The emergency phase will require hundreds of millions of dollars and the recovery and reconstruction part will require billions of dollars."

    Angry survivors have attacked government officials in flood-hit areas. The government's fear of a backlash is believed to be behind the blocking of two independent TV channels, Geo and Ary, which have been critical of President Asif Ali Zardari for going ahead with a European tour as large parts of his country suffered inundation.
     
  4. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    http://news.rediff.com/interview/2010/aug/08/fresh-rains-in-flooded-pak-1700-dead.htm
     
  5. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    More Rains Hit Flood-Ravaged Pakistan


    ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Monsoon rains fell on several parts of Pakistan on Monday, causing landslides in the north, raising water levels in already bloated rivers and further hindering the government’s aid efforts.

    Pakistan’s Meteorological Department forecast more rain for the next 24 hours, adding further hardship for the millions of people affected by Pakistan’s worst flooding in 80 years.

    Thousands of people started fleeing the city of Muzaffargarh in southern Punjab Province after the authorities issued flood warnings, according to local news reports.

    A special train was sent to carry residents to safety to the nearby city Multan, but local news reports suggested that government officials were unable to manage the evacuation in an orderly manner.

    Pakistani television broadcast images of people sitting on trucks, buses and tractors as they made their way out of the city. Many more were faced with fuel shortages in the city.

    Helicopter service remained suspended in northern Swat Valley because of bad weather in the early part of the day.

    United States military helicopters resumed operations later in the afternoon around 2:30 p.m. and rescued 500 people in Kalam and other parts of Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa Province, a spokesman for the United States Embassy said.

    The valley remains cut off from rest of the country, with major bridges and roads washed away and landslides blocking a major road leading into the valley.

    Hundreds of thousands of people were left stranded and in need of food, medication and clean drinking water, according to rescue workers. Aid workers were using donkeys or traveling by foot to reach people.

    In Sindh Province in southern Pakistan, water levels continued to rise at Sukkur Barrage, raising fears that the dam might not be able to withstand the force of water. Three spillways and six canals were opened Monday to ease the water pressure.

    President Asif Ali Zardari was scheduled to return to Pakistan on Monday from a European trip. Mr. Zardari drew stinging criticism for being abroad as the disaster unfolded.

    The United Nations has said about six million people in Pakistan have been affected by the floods and at least 1,500 have died.

    “This is a very major disaster, on the same scale as the earthquake of 2005,” Maurizio Giuliano, public information officer for the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, said in a statement.

    The United Nations has estimated that more than three million people were affected and 73,000 people killed in the 2005 earthquake in Kashmir.

    Government officials seemed overwhelmed and daunted by the magnitude of the devastation caused by the floods.

    Hina Rabbani Khar, the state minister for economic affairs, broke into tears as she described the plight of her constituency in the Muzaffargarh district of southwestern Punjab to Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani during a meeting that was broadcast live on state-run television.

    “We were not prepared for this kind of a disaster,” Ms. Khar said, her voice quivering and tears running down her face. “People have not had food or drinking water for the past seven days,”
     
  6. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    Pakistanis Flee Punjab City as Nation's Worst Floods Hit 12 Million People


    Pakistan’s Indus River and its tributaries flooded a city and surrounding farmlands in southern Punjab province, adding to 12 million people affected by the worst monsoon floods in the country’s history.

    Pakistani television news channels showed residents fleeing the city and district of Muzaffargarh, between the Indus and Chenab rivers, after dikes ruptured, flooding rice and sugarcane fields. More than 3.5 million people may live in the district, one of the country’s poorest and most flood-vulnerable populations, according to 1998 census statistics.

    The flooding has become “Pakistan’s worst national disaster,” Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said in a televised speech in the nearby city of Multan. On a tour of Sindh and Punjab, the country’s most populous provinces and its biggest agricultural zone, Gilani told reporters that the destruction of roads, bridges and towns has set Pakistan’s economic development back by years.

    The high waters that scoured northwestern Pakistani river valleys beginning July 28 have rolled downstream to the Indus River plains that are the backbone of Pakistan’s economy. Continued rains are likely to induce “high to very high flood” levels along a 250-kilometer (160-mile) stretch of the Indus, from Tarbela, northwest of the capital, Islamabad, to Chashma in central Punjab, Pakistan’s weather office said on its website today. Heavy downpours may trigger flash inundations in northwest Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

    Zardari Slammed

    Cotton, rice, sugarcane and maize crops have been damaged and fruit orchards have been washed away, putting at risk the government’s farm output growth target of 3.8 percent for the year that started July 1.

    President Asif Ali Zardari has been criticized by opponents for touring the U.K. and France last week while Pakistan battles the floods, which have killed 1,500 people, and injured or uprooted many more. “The death toll may rise to 2,000 because many dead bodies haven’t been recovered yet,” Abdus Sattar Edhi, founder of the Edhi Foundation, Pakistan’s biggest rescue service, said by telephone.

    In Sindh, 2 million people were hit as the water flow in the Indus crossed one million cubic feet per second, 10 times the norm, Khair Mohammed Kalwar, director of operations at the Provincial Disaster Management Authority, said by telephone from Karachi today.

    Floods have left many areas beyond outside help or communication, knocking out cellphone towers and ripping away roads.

    Army Effort

    Pakistan’s army is leading the relief effort, evacuating people, distributing drinking water and food and repairing bridges and roads, the military said on its website yesterday.

    Cotton planted on 1.4 million acres was damaged in the Punjab and may lead to higher imports, according to the Pakistan Kissan Board, a farmers’ group. As much as 5 percent of the rice crop may be damaged, threatening the nation’s export target of 4.2 million metric tons, Malik Jahangir, president of the Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan, said by telephone last week.

    Farmers in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa lost 35 billion rupees ($408 million) worth of crops, the state-run Associated Press of Pakistan reported, citing a preliminary government report.

    To contact the reporters on this story: Anwar Shakir in Peshawar at [email protected]; Khurrum Anis in Karachi at [email protected].
     

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