Pakistan: 7 Million without shelter months after floods

By Sampath Perera

23 October, 2010, WSWS.org

Seven of the 21 million Pakistanis affected by this summer’s floods are still without shelter, the United Nation’s Pakistan Office reported this week. And an estimated 14 million continue to need urgent humanitarian assistance.  These figures are an indictment of the Pakistan ruling elite’s incompetently organized and poorly funded flood relief effort.

They also are an indictment of the imperialist powers. Under conditions where Pakistan has faced what the UN has repeatedly described as the world’s largest humanitarian crisis in decades, the agency has repeatedly had to plead for the “international community” to come to assist Pakistan.

The western-dominated IMF and World Bank have tied flood aid to their demand for Pakistan to implement market reforms. Washington, meanwhile, has intensified its pressure on Pakistan to expand its counter-insurgency war against Taliban-aligned groups in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas.

Pakistan’s floods began with heavy rains in the country’s north-east in late July and continued as the water travelled the length of the Indus Valley over the next two months. More people were displaced in Sindh, the country’s southern-most province, than anywhere else, although authorities had weeks of warning about the impending floods. The vast majority of those now lacking shelter are from Sindh. Continue reading

Pakistan floods: Who is responsible, growing people’s anger

30 August 2010. A World to Win News Service.

“When the water came, we moved our women and children to high ground. Three of my daughters stayed behind to help the men pack up whatever belongings we could carry with us… within minutes, the current got too strong and the waters rose head high.” This is how a villager from Sardaryab, a village in northwest Pakistan, lost two of his daughters aged 16 and 17. He was only able to save his youngest daughter. “Their bodies were found three days later, dumped on the bank by receding waters about 6 kilometres down the river.”

Omar, another villager, describes the events in his village this way: “We could see the water rising across the entire area between my village and the river. At first we thought it was rain water, but it continued to rise,” he says. Everybody rushed to the nearby railway track which is on high ground. But Omar was slightly late.

“Three of our women were swept off their feet. We saved two of them, but the third, my brother’s wife, was lost. We found her body two days later.” (BBC, 5 August 2010)

This is the kind of story that Pakistani families who lost their loved ones or their home or what little belongings they had gathered over their entire lifetimes would tell you. Millions had to leave the land they had worked on to go to a supposedly safer place or a refugee camp. Continue reading