In the last three days, floods caused by monsoon rains have reportedly killed at least 430 people in the country, the worst to have hit the region since 1929. According to the Associated Press, “The rising toll from the monsoon rains underscore the poor infrastructure in impoverished Pakistan, where under-equipped rescue workers were struggling to reach people stranded in far-flung villages.” More than a million people have been affected by the disaster, and many have been displaced from their homes as the floods submerge villages and bridges, bloat rivers, and trigger landslides throughout the northwest of the country. A state of emergency has reportedly been declared in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, and authorities have told people to evacuate the banks of the Kabul and Swat rivers. Residents in Muzafarabad also told the BBC there was no electricity or drinking water in parts of the city.
As the Pakistani Army transfers people to safety by helicopters and boats, the United Nations announced they will be launching rescue efforts in 29 affected districts in K-P (The UN agency has already launched similar efforts in Balochistan).
But after the rains subside, what will be the long-term impact of these floods? And, given Pakistan’s recent spate of militant attacks, political instability, natural disasters and plane crashes, how much more can our country take? Fahad Desmukh echoed my sentiments exactly when he tweeted, “God is giving the terrorists tough competition.”
(Ahsan at Five Rupees also has a great post on the issue of class in the coverage of national tragedies, looking at both the Airblue plane crash and the floods, see here).