World
22.5.16

Swept Away

The source of this photo is Flickr. The author is John Barker. From Wikimedia Commons.

Flooding pops up on the UK news on a pretty regular basis. We live on an island that is famous throughout the world for having a lot of rain. We see pictures on TV of cars submerged and interviews with families who’ve had the ground floor of their houses filled with filthy flood water, carpets ruined, possessions lost and alternative accommodation having to be sought. There is an economic cost and then problems with getting insurance and where to build (much needed) new housing with flood plains taking up so much valuable real estate.

I don’t want to belittle these problems, but it’s going to sound like I am.

I worked in insurance for many years. My area of expertise was exposure management in areas that are affected by natural disasters. I concentrated on the areas where a large market financial loss could occur (that is the job I was employed to do) and I have to admit that this made me blinkered to the human cost. There are areas of the world where people are too poor to register any kind of significant financial loss, yet on a humanitarian scale, the devastation  is staggering.

Wading_through

The source of this photo is http://www.flickr.com/photos/zadeus/246241364/.  The author is Rakesh. From Wikimedia Commons.

This year’s monsoon rains in Pakistan have caused flooding that has killed around 100 people and displaced thousands more. The regions most affected are remote and access to them is hard at the best of times but the few roads that are there have been washed away. The resources available to help are stretched thin. And it’s not over yet. The rains continue to come.

Medicins Sans Frontieres reports that there are tens of thousands of people displaced and vulnerable in Sindh Province. The Provincial Disaster Management Authority Khyber is warning people to stay away the banks of the river Swat in Panjokra. Further rains are forecast and the ground is so waterlogged that there is imminent danger of levels rising to a point where the lives of those living in the region are endangered.

The danger doesn’t stop with drowning (though 100 and counting have either been drowned or killed by mudslides). The danger of disease could cost the lives of many, many more. This will be followed by a lack of food.

Tens of thousands of people have lost everything and don’t have the means to rebuild. They are living in makeshift camps and we aren’t talking tents here – it’s plastic sheeting or whatever else they can get their hands on.

Kalyan_Railway_Station_During_Floods

The source of this photo is Own work.  The author is Shubhanshu shukla. From Wikimedia Commons.

Medisins Sans Frontieres is doing its best to get medical aid into the area, but it’s not easy. It receives no government funding and is already stretched thin. I couldn’t find out the exact cost but it’s very low indeed and the number of people requiring their help runs into thousands. And, yes, that is a subtle hint for you to go on their website and donate. In the coming days (time of writing is 11th April 2016) they plan to set up 13 camps. This won’t be enough to make more than a dent without further aid.

Take into account that these floods have occurred pre-monsoon season and that further and heavier rains can be expected to start in June. There will barely be time for the current waters to recede. Certainly not enough to make significant repairs to vital infrastructure.  And things are almost certainly going to get worse.

I don’t want to make this sound like an appeal, but the basic fact is that the people in these regions need outside help. They simply do not have the resources required to fix the situation themselves.  I am including links to Medicins Sans Frontieres and YouTube that give some idea of the level of flooding that is occurring now and is going to get worse.

http://www.msf.ie/article/pakistan-floods-displace-thousands-sindh-province

Global Seven News

Thorin Seex

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