Friends in need | By Muhammad Zahid Rifat


Friends in need

PRESENTLY Pakistan is passing through the most critical juncture of its politically chequered history.

Most parts of the country mainly Sindh and Balochistan and some parts in Punjab and Khyber Pukhtoonkhwa have been inundated and submerged by unprecedented heaviest and deadliest rains and snap floods in the rivers caused by climate change, cloudburst and melting of the glaciers up there in the mountains.

More than 1200 men ,women and children have already been perished and still larger number of people injured and lakhs of people displaced as their houses, villages and towns have been swept away by onrushing floods and rainy waters.

Standing crops over vast areas have been washed away, large number of trees uprooted, infrastructure like highways, roads, steel-made structures as well as livestock wealth all have been damaged and destroyed to the maximum extent every where.

According to the initial estimates of the heaviest floods and rains losses by the official agencies have been put at $ 10 billion.

Actual loss estimates would only be after the water has dried up all over. As the floods and rains lashed out on the people in the rural and urban areas of the country causing the heaviest losses of men and material, not only the federal and provincial governments and agencies concerned rose to the occasion to rescue the flood-hit people,provide them relief goods but Pakistan’s friendly countries, international humanitarian and other organizations also came in to help the increasing number of people in great distress.

Old proverb “ A Friend In Need Is A Friend Indeed” to say the least fully fits on these friendly countries and international organizations whose planes carrying relief goods are landing daily at Islamabad and Karachi Airports carrying much needs items of need like tents, medicines, dry eatables etc in huge quantities besides making financial contributions also.

These friendly countries include Saudi Arabia, China, UAE, Qatar, Britain, USA, Germany, France , Australia.

The list of these countries is getting lengthier every day with more and more countries from around the globe coming to the fore with relief and rehabilitation goods in cash and kind for growing number of flood-affected people of Pakistan.

Pakistan and United Nations joined hands to jointly launch “2022 Pakistan Floods Response Plan” at a function organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs at which an appeal was flashed for immediate need of $ 160 million for flood hit people for providing them relief and rehabilitate them at the earliest.

Pakistan Floods Response Plan highlighted the main humanitarians needs, the efforts and steps taken by Pakistan Government to handle these challenges in collaboration with the UN and other partners, setting out a well coordinated and inclusive plan to respond to the needs of the affected people.

The Plan was described as being the holistic with a multi-sectoral approach covering covering the thematic clusters off food security and agriculture, health, nutrition, education, protection, shelter and non-food items, water sanitation and hygiene.

More than trillion dollars assistance was announced and committed by those who had responded to the invitation by the organizers.

There is lot more to be said about the friendly countries and organizations who are continuing their humanitarian assistance for the flood-hit people in Pakistan.

But for want of space this would be mentioned at some time, please. Besides the foreign countries and organizations, Pakistani people who are known for generosity the world over have also risen to the occasion once again and making all out efforts to provide relief goods to their brethren and sisters in flood-fit areas of the country.

Charitable organizations and philanthropist individuals who are sending relief goods daily for providing relief to the flood-hit people should better to coordinate, channelise and organize their efforts in order to ensure there is no overlapping and duplication and relief items reach only to the deserving people.

Armed Forces of Pakistan officers and jawans are also in the forefront to rescue the flood hit, provide the relief goods and reaching out distanced watered areas to the stranded people through helicopters and boats.

They have also set up relief goods collection centres and camps in large number in and around the affected areas and the charitable organizations and philanthropists should coordinate their laudable humanitarian efforts with these armed forces relief goods collection centres to ensure their donated goods reach to the needy people in organized and disciplined manner through army helicopters and boats also in the areas which are not otherwise approachable due to washed away and damage infrastructure, please.

An uphill gigantic task lies ahead both for the federal and provincial governments as well as for the charitable organizations and philanthropists and Pakistan’s friends in need as for as the rehabilitation of the flood hit people, who have lost all their belongs in the floods and rains, is concerned.

We all would have to tighten our belts to help our people in distress in a continued and concerted manner for years togather.

—The writer is Lahore-based Freelance Journalist, Columnist and retired Deputy Controller (News), Radio Pakistan,


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