Tuesday, September 7, 2010
Pakistan: When floods recede, toughest challenges begin
The devastation in Pakistan has been one of the worst natural disasters witnessed in recent times in terms of the numbers of people affected and the massive swathes of territory that are completely destroyed and cut-off. But that is not nearly the whole story.
The impact has not only been about loss of life and entire communities being uprooted. Arguably more significant, livelihoods, properties, income sources, assets, animals, machinery and food stocks of millions of people (many of whom were already living hand-to-mouth) has been washed away and swallowed by the mountains of mud.
Throw into the mix the volatile political situation in-country and on Pakistan's borders and we have a cocktail for potential civil unrest and destabilization. Security concerns for the population and aid workers are growing and, in terms of media interest, these aspects of the disaster are now receiving more attention it seems than the actual human suffering - 'not getting aid through' is a much better story after all than 'getting aid through'.
I embed here for you a photo slide show we but together with our friends at Reuters in an effort to raise awareness (and funds - more than 50'000 hits so far). We will need to produce more of this type of product in order to dispell any misperceptions out there that when the floods recede the disaster is over - the opposite of course is the truth, the real problems are only starting.
A final word of recognition for the Pakistan Red Crescent - they are doing an incredible job and are leading the international effort of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement on the ground (for our latest update, if interested, check this). Years of dealing with large scale disasters and conflict-related population displacements has provided them with great experience and capacities. They will continue to receive our international solidarity, support and reinforcements as they strive to cope with the consequences in the years ahead.