Where is the aid to flood victims?

Government is showing its ineptitude again

The entire nation is reportedly mourning the flood disaster in the country but this time it is a matter of concern for the whole nation that year after year, the performance of inept rulers has been so inadequate that they cannot even provide their people with a tent or two meals of bread to hide their heads in times of trouble. They seem unable to construct small dams to protect their people from flooding, nor can they open the doors of their palaces to hide their heads. If they cannot open the doors for the people, then how can these hard-hearted rulers feel the pain of the poor people?

Undoubtedly, the rulers of this country have never felt the sentiments nor have they ever felt the pain of the people. More than half of the country has been submerged in flood water, crops have been destroyed, and people’s livestock have been subjected to flood, epidemics are emerging, flood victims are forced to live with their children under the open sky deprived of hunger and treatment. The people of this country are being pitied by those living abroad while the political leadership is engaged in pursuing its politics even in the hour of trouble. The ruling coalition is enjoying the rule as the opposition is busy in awakening the people by demanding elections. The irony is that the country and the nation are in a serious crisis and the coalition’s members are celebrating the remission of their cases.

If private voluntary organizations and educational institutions from across the country can prove themselves credible by helping the victims then the government should also restore its credibility before asking for help from others. On the one hand, set up a website or a database that can be shared with the world to describe how many of the 30 million flood affected people have been rehabilitated and how many are left On the other hand, large relief camps should be made in flood-affected areas and officers should be appointed on merit, so that assistance can be provided in the right way with the registration of the real victims otherwise the flood survivors will not be be helped or Pakistan be saved from infamy

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The indifference of our rulers is that the world is sending relief goods to the flood victims, but the government seems to be unable to deliver the aid to the victims. If we look at the internal and external aid, the victims should get all the facilities by now, even though today the flood victims are still helpless. Seeing the helplessness of the flood victims, the Chief of Pakistan Army, Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa, left his other duties and rushed to help the flood victims and visited China to receive emergency aid of 500 million yuan.  Imran Khan is also claiming to have collected more than Rs 10 billion, whereas NGOs continue to bring all their performance to the public every week, yet the domestic and foreign aid that is coming and as many announcements as there are in this regard, the victims do not seem to be getting any relief.

Indeed, the coalition government has not made any mechanism for the flood victims, nor has it set any priorities. The Prime Minister and the Chief Ministers along with other officials are visiting the entire country but they go back in a non-committal manner only after the photo session. It seems like there is a dispute between the provincial and federal governments over the flood fund instead of their restoration of the flood defenses. On the one hand, poor people are helpless victims of floods and on the other hand, the rulers are struggling to get aid money. Seeing all this, the leaders of many foreign countries have started to express their concerns. They have started to say in very clear and blunt terms that the aid that is being given must reach the flood victims but despite all the concerns, relief materials are not reaching the flood victims.

It is a fact that despite receiving a large monetary aid from all over the world, the victims are still longing for flood aid where private voluntary organizations are reaching out to the flood victims across the country. While suspicions are being expressed on the government from all sides, the government institutions are continuously reporting the number of casualties and damages but they are not declaring anything about the aid received, nor are they delivering the goods from abroad to the victims. Where are these relief supplies going? According to the Sindh High Court Sukkur Bench, the flood relief supplies have been placed in the houses of the officers. The people of Pakistan saw a similar scene during the first earthquake and now the scenario is being repeated during the flood crisis. Pakistani institutions are also expressing concern that Pakistan is losing its credibility regarding aid funds.

At this time, there is a need for Pakistan to restore its lost credibility and for this the government should create a system that the world can trust. In this regard, the special donation campaign of Lahore College for Women University (LCWU) with Akhuwat Foundation has been exemplary. Funds and supplies were collected during a 15-day flood relief campaign organized by the institute’s own flood relief committee, chaired by Dr. Arifa Tahir. The campaign was aimed at helping flood-affected people across the country. LCWU Vice-Chancellor Prof. Dr. Bushra Mirza handed over the relief commodities and a check of Rs.4 million to Akhuwat Foundation chief Dr. Amjad Saqib. LCWU students, faculty members and administrative staff have not only actively participated in the flood relief donation drive individually, but have also taken special care for transparency by collecting a large number of relief goods and funds.

If private voluntary organizations and educational institutions from across the country can prove themselves credible by helping the victims then the government should also restore its credibility before asking for help from others. On the one hand, set up a website or a database that can be shared with the world to describe how many of the 30 million flood affected people have been rehabilitated and how many are left On the other hand, large relief camps should be made in flood-affected areas and officers should be appointed on merit, so that assistance can be provided in the right way with the registration of the real victims otherwise the flood survivors will not be be helped or Pakistan be saved from infamy.

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Attiya Munawer
The writer tweets @AttiyaMunawer

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