Sunday turned out to be another day of protest staged by the students and youths from the southern Punjab, Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and Balochistan against what they called the federal and the provincial governments’ failure to help the people of the areas devastated by floods.
People in these calamity-hit areas are suffering immensely. They are dying, their livestock are drowning, their crops are inundated and their houses are collapsing but the National and the Provincial disaster management authorities are not showing an up to the mark response, they said. in three provinces Punjab, KP and Balochistan the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) is in power but its lawmakers, relevant departments too are busy in politics, they regretted adding likewise, Sindh too is devastated but little is being done to help the people there.
The protesters were holding placards, raising slogans and expressed concerns over what they called apathy of the Punjab, KP, Sindh and the federal governments towards assisting the affectees of the heavy monsoon rains and flash floods in the southern Punjab.
The government is rightly providing aid and assistance to the affectees in Balochistan but while doing so it should also pay attention to the sufferings of the people of the southern Punjab, largely a Siraiki belt and also provide relief to the northern areas and in the KP. The protesters demanded the central and the provincial governments to immediately start rescue relief and rehabilitation programme for the flood-hit communities, besides making estimates of the flood-induced damages and long-term strategic plan to manage future floods particularly in the belt that is stretched between Suleman range and the Indus River.
Notwithstanding death and destruction caused by the recent flash floods in Dera Ismail Khan, Dera Ghazi Khan and Rajpur districts, the provincial and the federal governments have paid little heed to the sufferings of the flood-hit communities, they said.
The angry protesters condemned the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) and Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) for their failure to provide any early warning about the flash floods and protect the local communities from disaster.
Most of the human toll and other material losses caused by the recent flash floods in the area could have been prevented or mitigated had there been an effective early warning system and rescue services in place to shift the affected communities, their livestock and other moveable assets to the safer places, they held.
By not providing any such services, the NDMA and PDMA failed in their duties and left the flood-affected communities at their own mercy to cope with the emergency. It is so pathetic that even after the occurrence of the flood and the displacement of the affected communities, no government agency has bothered to provide any relief to the flood-hit communities.
The protesters asked the government to start immediate provision of food, water, shelter, healthcare, sanitation and other relief services to the flood affected communities. It has also demanded the government to make an estimate of the human and other material losses as well as a comprehensive plan for early recovery and rehabilitation of the affected communities.