Pakistan: Authorities don’t help rain-hit population, nor let others do it

Source: Pakistan Today

Pakistani non-governmental organizations, among them the Civil Society Support Programme (CSSP, one of the members of Social Watch in that country), expressed their concern over the government’s silence on neither providing relief to the rain-hit population, nor inviting the international community to assist with rescue and rehabilitation.

At a meeting of representatives from different civil society organisations, including the CCSP, Strengthening Participatory Organisation Pakistan and the Rural Development Foundation in Karachi, participants requested government authorities, welfare organisations and philanthropists to come forward and help the rain-affected people.

“If the government feels its failure towards providing relief to those afffected, the authorities should approach the UN and other agencies to intervene through their partner organisations,” says a resolution adopted at the meeting this Wednesday.

“We further emphasise that delays in emergency response may result in a serious situation, causing deaths by hunger and widespread diseases due to people being left without any help under open skies. It is the prime responsibility of the state and humanitarian aid organisations to provide relief to those affected with immediate effect,” adds the statement.

The meeting was also attended by representatives from Global Rural Development Organisation, Goth Seengar Foundation, Sahkar Dost, Hina and Nayha Disaster Services, Participatory Development Initiatives, Society for the Protection of the Rights of the Child, Sindh Development Society and ARTS Foundation.

The data provided by the Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) also came under discussion.

According to the report, heavy rains and breaches in irrigation and drainage systems have devastated 20 districts of Sindh with more than 5.39 million people affected and 4.26 million acres submerged, including 1.59 million acres of agriculture lands.

“The infrastructure, including 653,112 homes, has been badly damaged and the death toll has reached 108. The data of a few districts is still awaited as the victims have not only lost their homes, cultivated lands and livestock, but also they are not in a position to access food and medicines for their survival and health,” the participants at the meeting reported.

The participants agreed that the current disaster is more critical in terms of damages, deaths and long-term socio-economic impacts than last year’s flood, as rains have not only hit cotton, paddy, sugarcane and other crops in most districts of Sindh, but have also affected the densely-populated districts and severely damaged the infrastructure.