Sunday, December 5, 2010

Have we forgotten the flood victims?

Well the plain and painful answer is a big YES. When the floods came, the whole nation got united as we did in 2005 earthquake. A large scale relief effort was undertaken in every street and corner of the country. Truckloads were dispatched by ordinary people and NGOs while the government sat and watched. Had it not been for the massive relief operation undertaken by the army, the death toll would have been colossal.

After establishing the camps and sheltering them temporarily, everyone started to step back. Even the media that had raced to reach the flood hit areas before the other channel, has also new stories to make. Slowly and gradually the sympathies and concern for those poor 20 million people has subsided. Now everyone is worried about Wikileaks rather than those wretched people facing the severe winter cold right out there in the open, HELPLESSLY.

Although the NGOs and people of the country contributed more than the government and the governments, they can and should do more now when people are battling the general winter (as from Napoleonic age). The media also needs to play its part more effectively and bring to forth the sufferings of the people in the open rather than forgetting about the issue as we have forgotten the earthquake victims.

On the internet, we still find appeals for the donation of Haiti flood victims as they have not been forgotten. But we definitely seem to have forgotten these people. And perhaps we have also forgotten that of the 20 million affectees, six million are children. They need our help more than the elders.

Unfortunately due to the credibility issue of the present government, a general awareness in the donor countries could not be created about the sufferings and plight of the people. That is why except for initial immediately needed relief and help, the world too has forgotten these people. Nor the government, nor the media followed the donors and those who could help. The news channels after securing points on other channels by running EXCLUSIVE sliders, have found new stories to take advantage from.

I remember that during the times when Afghan refugees were here in Pakistan, although they are still here in numbers, the Saudi government sent plane loads of meat sacrificed at the Hajj for the Afghan refugees. This time there was no such gesture. The mood of the Saudi government after the release of Wikileaks could be the obvious reason.

It seems we have failed in our cause and pledge to help these poor people. We need to reinvigorate our efforts to help them as long as they are in tents and open. Instead of making model villages which will cost lot of money, we simply need to make houses for them rather than wasting money of building community centres and other facilities as money spent on these can be used for making more houses, which is the priority one. WE NEED TO DO MUCH MORE than mere slogans and hollow reassurances. Let us just help them.

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