By Shahid R. Siddiqi. Axis of Logic
Axis of Logic Columnist, Shahid R. Saddiqi wrote us a letter and sent us these photos to us from Pakistan, calling them "a glimpse into the devastation caused and the poor people's struggle to hang on to life." Torrential rains in these areas of Pakistan have caused the most severe flooding in 80 years. Shahid tells us of the magnitude of these catastrophic floods which continue today and the immeasurable cost to the people of Pakistan:
"I returned to Lahore in early August. Pakistan was hot, very hot, with temperatures hitting 48-50 (118-122 F) degrees when I arrived. And then started rains which caused floods, the likes of which have never ever been recorded in the history of this region. The five main rivers that originate in the north and join together at different points to form the famous Indus that runs about 1500 miles through the center of the country until it falls in the Arabian Sea - all boiled over. So is the case with smaller rivers and hill torrents in the north. Some say the disaster is bigger than tsunami and Haiti put together and it has not stopped yet. The rains and floods continue unabated.
About 20 million people have become IDPs (internally displaced persons) and thousands have lost their lives. Infrastructure and rural housing damage is colossal. Millions of cattle heads were swept away or have died. Thousands of acres of cotton, cereal and other crops stand under water and are destroyed. Pakistan has the biggest irrigation canal system in Asia, perhaps the world. Most canals are breached and have overflowed. Pakistan's agriculture, its mainstay, will take years to recover with food shortages haunting in the meantime. Disease is spreading fast.
The government, inefficient and corrupt as it is, stands by and watches helplessly, knowing not where or how to begin. The army on its own has silently taken over the rescue and relief work and has won acclaim for the organized manner in which it is undertaking it. The task is humongous. The politicians are under intense fire for their failure to meet the challenge. There is a huge chaos. No body knows how the next phase of rehabilitation will begin because of the acute shortage of resources."
Source of Photos: NGO photographers
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