Daughters of Pakistan and climate catastrophe | By Farkhanda Shahid Khan

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Daughters of Pakistan and climate catastrophe

JINGLES of nature are never consistent, but when nature takes a turn, it brings catastrophe.

Among year-on-year floods, the 2022’s torrential rains and floods wreaked havoc in Pakistan.

It is bringing a humanitarian crisis, loss of livestock and crops. Dejectedly, among a great number of victims, women and children are the most vulnerable. During this disaster, the helpless displaced people are looking for help and shelter.

Though the Pakistani community carrying the concept of brotherhood is generous enough and they are supporting the victims with food, shelter, clothes, rations, and medicinal help; they are transporting them to safe zones and trying to reunite the lost ones, yet the present arrangements are inadequate.

Though not like the earthquake of 2005 or the flood disaster of 2010, the international community is still stepping forward to donate to the flood victims in Pakistan.

National Disaster Management Authority, Pakistan defence forces, Rescue 1122 and other local departments of district management are also working to the best of their capacity.

Unfortunately, it is for the first time in history that there is a political division in the country in a time of natural calamity.

Some immature politicians are sparkling fire on one side, and on the other side, Mullahs’ comments in this extreme time are adding fuel to the fire.

Many religious organizations are working to support the flood victims, but some Mullahs are handing down a decree that debaucheries of these sufferers are bringing hefty floods.

Now just see the deprived areas which have been caught by the flood, the people are used to living in dreadful poverty and the women, especially never go out of their houses.

They have not joined any women’s rights campaign or ‘Fahashi March’ ever. Likewise, the family park in Bannu has also been shut for women after a stoning protest of clerics, yet the Indus belt is under the wrath of water.

Frankly, no religion allows anyone to share the seat of God. It is a strange rationale that innocent people who do not know about their basic facilities and rights are being blamed for this destruction as the result of their sins.

Women in this time of need are standing shoulder to shoulder with men. They are part of medical camps, food distribution teams, women’s special care units working for pregnant women and those activists who were called ‘Satanic minded’ by religious contractors are leading from the front.

They are advance guards who are preparing women to be part of the team to counsel flood affectees women for regular checks and in-time medication.

They are also arranging packages for their relief during menstrual periods. If women are given due power and authority, they are capable enough to serve their nation.

A woman commissioner in Nowshera is incomparable, who is serving her homeland and her people while herself going home to home and in mosques for announcements to guide people.

Her timely efforts have made a huge difference in the time of this national emergency. We need to deploy such administrative civil servants who share the pain and serve the people during times of humanitarian crisis.

Moreover, girls and boys’ scouts are also working for rescue and relief. There is a need to build tent villages in safe places immediately where people can be placed for temporary living.

Dispensaries are a must within those temporary houses. There is a need to ramp up nutrition aid including food for gestational mothers and milk for children.

Safe houses are a dire need in this terrible time to save children from water-borne diseases such as cholera and dysentery.

Since we know that it needs ample time to remove waterphobia from the minds of youngsters who have seen their loved ones going in speedy water-flow of this flash flood; they need psychological support as well in the form of rehabilitation.

In this regard, the government should be given special attention to arranging child-friendly spaces inside relief camps for children’s activities.

The government needs to take strict measures against the black marketing of relief goods and price hiking.

It is time to tighten the screw on the black sheep within the system who involve in issuing NOCs for illegal constructions.

There is a need to develop a registration database of the flood victims for fair disbursement of resources.

Further, there is a need to keep eye on false organizations and individuals collecting donations in the name of victims.

Following the international code of ethics, measures should be taken for the security, safety and recovery of flood affectees.

Moreover, it is the state’s responsibility to save children and women against sexual harassment and exploitation in this untrammeled situation.

Malala Fund and other international donors should also come forward in the assistance of rehabilitation of schools and education. Unitedly, with national and international cooperation, we can come out of this woe.

—The writer is Lecturer in English Literature at Government College University Faisalabad.

 

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