Sunday August 28, 2022

Pakistan now needs endless relief

Pakistan now needs endless relief

An aerial view of a flooded area of Charsadda district in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan. AFP

Pope Francis made a fervent appeal to help Pakistan fight the horror of floods. Others followed his call. As Europe battles an unusual drought Asian countries are tackling the fury of the floods. Heart-breaking pictures of victims are emerging from different parts of the country. The death toll is racing upwards. It has crossed 1,100. No sight is more painful than the piling of body bags.

The United Arab Emirates, like always, has gone forward with massive relief for Pakistan.

President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan has ordered the provision of urgent relief aid to Pakistan, which has been witnessing torrential rain.

Sheikh Mohamed also ordered the provision of all humanitarian relief services to the displaced to enhance their ability to overcome the challenges they are facing. Sheikh Mohamed also made a phone call to Premier Shahbaz Sharif, during which he offered condolences and sympathy to the victims.

Sheikh Mohamed wished a speedy recovery for the injured and quick return of the displaced to their areas, praying to Allah Almighty to protect Pakistan.

During the conversation, Sheikh Mohamed emphasised the UAE’s solidarity with the government and people of Pakistan in facing the repercussions of these difficult climatic conditions and its keenness to provide all possible forms of support to it.

In turn, Sharif extended thanks for the UAE President for the urgent relief and humanitarian assistance. The UAE relief aid includes some 300,000 tonnes of food supplies, as well as tonnes of medical and pharmaceutical supplies, in addition to tents and shelter materials.

The UAE relief teams will also provide all kinds of humanitarian support to Pakistani cadres and institutions concerned with efforts to secure the safety of the affected and their food, medical and logistical needs. Separately, Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan sent a cable of condolences to Dr Arif Alvi, President of Pakistan, over the victims of the floods that hit the country.

Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, also sent a similar cable to Alvi. Meanwhile, thousands of people living near flood-swollen rivers in Pakistan’s north were ordered to evacuate as the death toll from devastating monsoon rain kept rising.

Many rivers in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have burst their banks, demolishing scores of buildings including a 150-room hotel that crumbled into a raging torrent. Officials say this year’s monsoon flooding has affected more than 33 million people - one in seven Pakistanis - destroying or badly damaging nearly a million homes.

Authorities ordered thousands of residents in threatened areas to relocate as rivers had still not reached maximum capacity. “Initially some people refused to leave, but when the water level increased they agreed,” Bilal Faizi, spokesman for the Rescue 1122 emergency service, told reporters.

Officials say this year’s floods are comparable to 2010 — the worst on record — when over 2,000 people died and nearly a fifth of the country was under water.

The Jindi, Swat and Kabul rivers flow through the Chrasadda town before joining the mighty Indus, which is also flooding downstream.

Officials blame the devastation on man-made climate change, saying Pakistan is unfairly bearing the consequences of irresponsible environmental practices elsewhere in the world. The government has declared an emergency and mobilised the military to deal with what Climate Change Minister Sherry Rehman on Wednesday called “a catastrophe of epic scale.”

According to the National Disaster Management Authority, since the monsoon started in June more than two million acres of cultivated crops have been wiped out, 3,100 kilometres of roads have been destroyed and 149 bridges have been washed away.

Countries and leaders should put aside their political differences and do everything within their reach to stop the killer slide. Crises that kill, injure, harm and make ordinary people starve shouldn’t be seen as countries’ woes, but humanity’s tears. Let’s wipe them.

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