Friday, August 27, 2010

Pakistan, Drowning in Neglect

Graph Source: New York Times - aug 27, 2010

Pakistan, Drowning in Neglect
Ali Sethi, New York Times, August 25, 2010

THE old man was sitting on his string bed. But it was upside down; its finely rounded legs were pointing to the sky, and the knotted ropes strung across its wooden frame were wet. Underneath it were several plastic drums — once used for storing diesel fuel — that had been emptied out and tied to it for buoyancy. The makeshift raft was bobbing up and down, and the man sitting on it had his legs in the yellow-brown water, which stretched around him for miles and miles like a strange sea, the tops of faraway trees sticking out of it like little islands.

“Hold it like that for five more minutes!” cried the cameraman.
I had accompanied a TV crew to this submerged village in the western Pakistani province of Baluchistan. The floodwater had dissolved the villagers’ mud houses, turned the rice fields they tilled into a lake and the road above into an embankment.

The villagers acted quickly: they set up temporary homes along the embankment, with two upright string beds for walls and a third thrown atop them like a roof. But the slits between the strings exposed the makeshift roofs, so the villagers filled these with the twisting branches of the ak plant, a kind of milkweed the women had plucked from the banks of a nearby canal. The plant’s tendrils now hung from their ceilings like flimsy chandeliers, with bees and flies dancing around the rotting bulbs.

“As you can see,” said the young reporter with the microphone in his hand, frowning at the camera in the harsh afternoon light, “these people have been living like this for three whole weeks.” His testimony was sent via satellite to the channel’s headquarters some 500 miles to the northeast in Lahore, and was airing live in the big cities and towns of Pakistan.

For complete article, click here
Pakistan Flood Sets Back Infrastructure by Years - NYT
Hassan Abbas Discusses Pakistan Flooding: Taking Stock - Bloomberg Radio
U.S. businesses urge trade help for flooded Pakistan - Reuters
One million flee south Pakistan - Aljazeera
Pakistan's Growing Pains - Asia Society Blog

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