Archive for September 2nd, 2010

The Cacophony of Tragedy

I’ve felt very drained by the news of late. Cricket players implicated in a spot-fixing scandal. A flood disaster of epic proportions, affecting millions of people and requiring billions of dollars in long-term humanitarian assistance. Political violence and targeted killings in Karachi. A triple bombing that targeted a Shiite procession in Lahore, killing 25 people and wounding 150 others. A firing on another Shiite procession in Karachi, all during the month of Ramadan.

The minute we divert our energy elsewhere, something else explodes outside the periphery. It further illustrates the cacophony of tragedy, and it is deafening. Below are some very powerful images that illustrate the situation poignantly:

From NYT: AP Image

A photographer captured the above image yesterday, following the triple blasts in Lahore that targeted a Shiite mourning procession. The man is running from the explosions caused from protesters burning vehicles, after the attacks incited clashes between mourners and police.

Via Asher Hasan/Naya Jeevan

The image above was posted by Asher Hasan, the founder of Naya Jeevan, a social enterprise providing quality health insurance to the urban poor in Pakistan, and raising money to provide health care to people affected by the floods. The photograph was taken in a village in Charsadda, and shows an entire home washed by the floods, with only the front door remaining. The message in his caption reads: “Over the next few months, thousands of pregnant women will need to deliver their newborns in an unsanitary, high-risk environment,” created by the disaster. According to aid agencies, the floods in Pakistan have exposed nearly 500,000 pregnant women to health risks. Sonia Kush, director of emergency preparedness and response for Save the Children, noted, “We know that mothers are giving birth in flimsy or crowded shelters, steps away from stagnant water and debris.”

From NYT: Reuters Image

Children are also at high risk of malnutrition and water-borne diseases. The above image depicts a mother holding her baby suffering from diarrhea at an overcrowded clinic in Sukkur, Sindh. According to UNICEF, the floods have affected nearly 8.6 million children.

(From the NYT): Reuters image

Above, another powerful photograph, taken as flood victims gather outside a police station in Sukkur, awaiting food. According to a statement, the World Bank has increased its flood-related support to Pakistan from $900 million to $1 billion. As the inflation rate is expected to climb from 15 percent to 20 percent, the government announced that the floods damaged $1 billion of crops, causing food shortages. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has called for funds to replace half a million tons of wheat seed stocks destroyed by the floods, with planting of the staple due to take place over the next three months.

Below is a new song released by Laal, a rock band in Pakistan, called “Doob Gaya Hai.” Very powerful:

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