Sunday, August 1, 2010

Mother Nature's multi-pronged assault

Floods, land sliding & Islamabad plane crash; It’s like Mother Nature decided to wage a multi-pronged assault on us. I guess you can’t blame it after all we haven’t been acting in the best of manners either. However, the point under discussion is not to decide whether all this is a punishment or not but how we acted & reacted.

Yet again it has been proven that we are not either equipped or trained to handle a disaster situation, be it natural or man-made. The thing that is bothering me the most is how much time it will take us to actually understand our situation & construct our institutions accordingly. For one monsoons are no surprises, they come every season so why were we not prepared? Then didn’t earthquake of 2005 teach us anything? And what about the more than 90 thousand IDPs situation we faced & still are facing thank to the continuous drone attacks. Not to forget the fact that we have passed the limit where a suicide attack get’s a title for remembrance like 9/11, 7/7 & 26/11 etcetera because for us it has become a regular feast & if we marking these dates our calendars will be overflowing.

Coming back to our recent troubles.

While watching the coverage of all that is going on & as usual when the statement was announced that the army has been called in to manage the situation, one of the voices in the room announced that it seems we recruit supermen in our army. A senior voice replied that there was a time we were trying to train everyone to be a superman. When explanation was demanded the discussion was dragged to the good old days before Zia-ul-Haq decided to ruin the basic fabric of this nation & turn it into something that resembles a herd.  So as always the details started off by a solemn ceremony praying that he burns in hell for eternity.

Then the explanation drifted to the system of civil defense which now only exists in name like most of other departments. There was a time when civilians were part of such groups which enabled them to fully equipped to handle such calamities which we are currently facing & no one seems to find an effective solution as there is no organized platform which can supervise the relief efforts. There is no doubt that individual efforts are always prompt & filled with complete sincerity in our country, unfortunately until & unless they are canalized.
Students from high schools, colleges & universities were part of different organizations like girls guide; boys scout which were active participants in the relief activities during the floods in East-Pakistan which is now Bangladesh & elsewhere.

Some serious though should be given to the revival of such organizations, as they are the need of the hour. Till this point the official figures of the people who have lost their lives in these floods is 800, & we  know that the real figures are definitely high & by the time this will end there will be a lot of people about whom we won’t even know what happened to them. Local people are managing the relief work on their own as we can see that there is no sign of the presence of the government. Something that is not new, whenever the country has faced some kind of catastrophe the government runs away from any practical work, all they do is get their photo sessions & release statements. In the present moment both the so called biggest political parties have grabbed it as an opportunity for point scoring, without realizing that nobody cares a flying rats ass at the moment when all that people can see is misery of their fellow countrymen.

To those who think that as far as this problem is not their personal one, they can relax they too better wake up. They might be sitting safely in their homes but that does not by any way is a grantee that they will not be affected. The areas that have been heavily affected will result in the sky rocketed prices of food items. Our memories are too short, that’s why we have forgotten that when we bombarded our northern areas we suffered the shortage of meat products because those areas are out supply lines for them. Same will happen for other food items now.

Everything is connected now so we should get rid of the theory that as far a situation that does not effects us directly, we need to stay out of it as now each & everything effects everyone.

1 comment:

  1. Fatima it is really a good job in this article which u have done. I appreciate you views. We have committed so many mistakes and still not ready to atone. It is very sorry state of system that we always failed to respond to such calamities in time. Plz also suggest a viable disaster management system on national and district level which can be advocated in top echelons of power. Once again your views are really thought provoking and I m sharing your blog with my friends.