What the UNICEF representative told media about the condition of children in flood-affected regions of the country once again underlines that the grimness of the situation created by the cataclysmic floods. Also that the scale of the destruction caused is simply colossal. As he put it, floods had by now claimed the lives of at least 528 children; an estimated 16 million children have been impacted by ‘super floods’ and at least 3.4 million girls and boys remained in need of immediate, lifesaving support. As the UNICEF rep concluded, without a massive increase in support and aid, many more children would lose their lives.
Meanwhile millions of families have lost all they had. Their houses have been washed away, belongings lost in surging flood waves and in cases sole breadwinners drowned. Those marooned along highways or camped on sand dunes are surrounded by water over weeks and urgently need food, shelter, clean water and medicines. PTI chief Imran Khan meanwhile wants elections, not later than January or February as it suits him politically. There is a need to reconcile the aspirations of the millions made homeless by floods with requirements of the democratic system.
What the government needs in order to rescue and rehabilitate the flood-affected families are sufficient funds amounting to billions of dollars. With winter approaching, life for those lying in the open, particularly in Balochistan, will become hard. Foreign help in the form of goods and cash is slowly pouring in. Self-respect however requires raising funds from inside Pakistan before seeking others’ help. Political parties however prefer to carry the begging bowl rather than tax well-to-do supporters. Pakistanis, both from inside the country and abroad have contributed money to relief organisations they trust. However, the section of the country’s super rich has yet to open its purses. Those possessing costly petrol-guzzling cars, extra large residences and frequently traveling abroad need to be imposed a hefty flood tax , at least for one time. The government needs to convene a meeting of the Council of Common Interests (CCI) and seek provincial governments’ input regarding raising of funds to rehabilitate the flood affectees. The recently set up National Flood Response and Coordination Centre needs to plan for the future and devise ways to efficiently implement it.