People who survive floods may starve, says Faisal Edhi – Newspaper
KARACHI: Highlighting relief efforts for those who suffered from floods caused by monsoon rains, members of social organisations, social workers and those involved in humanitarian work in the affected areas painted a grim picture of the location Friday night.
Speaking at a press conference at Karachi Press Club, Edhi Foundation’s Faisal Edhi said no province in Pakistan was spared from the floods. The situation is extremely bad and it will get worse. People’s participation, compared to the 2010 floods or when the 2005 earthquake hit the northern regions, in the relief work is not enough, he said.
This is why the speakers at the event, moderated by Zehra Khan, decided to call on all organizations, including those working under the UN, USAID, etc., to help.
Mr. Edhi warned that if, at this critical time, these organizations leave us alone, it will have global consequences.
The head of the association says that 90% of those affected by the floods are still waiting for help; government urged to immediately lift ban on INGOs
He said: “I fear that international migration from Pakistan will start, as it happened after the war in Syria. three to four crore [30 to 40 million] people have been affected by the monsoon rains and hundreds of thousands of homes have been destroyed.
“I stayed there for nine days, and despite tremendous efforts by the Edhi Foundation, government and NGOs, we were only able to reach 10% of people, 90% of whom are still waiting for help. There are people who say they don’t want to take their children to the streets and only ask for food. The water entered their houses,” he said.
He continued, “I had a conversation with my son who is in Khairpur Nathan Shah and wants to go to Meher where many are stuck. They are at a distance of 25 kilometers but we will have to travel about 300 km to reach them because of the stagnant water of four to five feet.
“Edibles are not available. Crops — rice, sugar, wheat and cotton — have been destroyed. Nothing is available to eat in Sindh and South Punjab. The military plays a big role in the operations The government is also doing its part. I am glad that the government has distributed 25,000 rupees among the people concerned. But we would ask them to speed up the process and increase the amount.
“We would also like to call on the government to immediately lift the one-year ban on international NGOs and allow them to work because in 2010 and 2005 international NGOs played an important role in relief and rehabilitation work,” he said. said Mr. Edhi.
Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Junior said he would like to continue working with the Edhi Foundation. His father, the late Murtaza Bhutto, had also worked with them.
Call to allow imports from India
Economist Dr Kaiser Bengali said two floods hit the region: first in the form of rains, then rainwater from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab came into Sindh through the rivers. Crop destruction has two negative impacts. First, the farmers’ source of income is over. Second, if there is no food in the market, customers will not get it, and even if it is available, it will be at high prices.
“The need of the hour is to import. We should import rice, sugar, onions, lentils, cotton for a year. Part of the aid that the government receives should be earmarked for these imports. It is necessary to import from India because the advantage of importing from India is to reduce transportation costs. People who don’t die from the floods could starve. And the spread of disease once the water subsides will also be a huge problem,” Dr Bengali said.
At this point, Mr. Edhi intervened saying that there were reports of deaths of children and the elderly in every district.
Retired judge Rasheed A Razvi said the government had no volunteers to work with. The international NGO intermediary was not allowed to operate. The Charities Act 2019 was passed in record time in the Sindh Assembly, imposing a ban on NGO work. It’s time for the government to lift the ban on dedicated NGOs.
Karamat Ali of the Pakistan Institute of Labor Education and Research suggested that 10% of GDP should be spent on relief work.
Nasir Mansoor of the National Trade Union Federation (NTUF) said the NDMA should be pro-people.
Dr Mirza Ali Azhar from the Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) said the disease outbreak had already started. There have been massive casualties that go unreported. He also demanded that the process of receiving aid be made transparent.
During the Q&A session, Edhi said the government should cut spending. “There are some organizations that don’t treat minorities well. We have received complaints. The government must also control these NGOs. We are already a divided country, we cannot afford further divisions.
Mr. Bhutto reiterated his willingness to work with Faisal Edhi. “A revolution in our country is about to happen. People are angry. They are fed up with the feudal system. They don’t want feudalism. We need radical reforms but our politicians are not giving us radical reforms because we have spent the last 75 years dancing between feudalism and capitalism. Yes, in terms of the lands we [his family] have, almost everything was submerged. The houses of our haris were also destroyed. Of course, we are always there for the people. We do our best to help.
Posted in Dawn, September 3, 2022