August 20, 2011

Flood 2011Spare a moment for the 1.2 million left homeless, for all those forced to live in desperate, unhygienic conditions. Muted by world media, flood victims in Pakistan have fallen off the radar in 2011. Over a week has past and relief has been slow to reach people in the hardest-hit regions of Badin and Thatta in Sindh, Pakistan’s southern province.

While politicians bumble around, attempting (or appear thereof) to find a solution for the 1.2 million flood affectees, the bell tolls noiselessly. Beyond Pakistan’s national news, coverage of the 2011 floods has been a silent movie playing out on the fringes of the international media (if at all). A few more weeks of radio (or print and TV) silence and the region will become as quiet and stone cold as international media outlets. The unmoved press, which has refused to cover the calamity in the region, may finally get to report on a wave of death due to curable waterborne diseases.

Intense, speedy and wholehearted as the response has been among the compassionate and the aware, it has been far too noiseless. For Pakistanis, for humans and humanity, this is not a time for whispered crying, silent and ardent prayers, aimless grumbling and soundless emails.

This is the time to spare a moment to (See the related Q&A with SA Relief here.)

It is not a moment to despair, panic, or show anger but to respond and resonate with your humanity and act accordingly. This is the time to broadcast the unbroadcasted. Time is of the essence, innocent lives are at stake. Children are living under dark clouds of hunger, sickness and disease.

There have been no silent candle-lit vigils, protest marches or sit-ins demanding immediate and swift action from governments (or the international community), nor have there been fundraisers to increase the awareness of the latest dire situation and ongoing plight of the common man, woman and child in Pakistan.

Over a million people have cried out for well over a week: cries of hunger and suffering, cries for the loss of livelihood and shelter from the remains of washed out homes, farms, shops. The requests are simple: a hot meal and clean drinking water. But the response has underwhelming so far. As such, the cries are cries of panic, pain and anger. That is a lot of noise ignored by the world media.

floods-badin-sindh-2011The voices of the flood affectees must be allowed to make it out through us to the mainstream world media: TV, radio and newspapers. All because it is our duty as human beings, as compassionate and emotional beings to not let their suffering go in vain.

So spare a moment out of your busy work schedule, your busy family life and your busy social life. Reach out to your friends, colleagues, family and schoolmates to make them aware of the dire situation in Pakistan. Tell them about the 2011 flood victims who, having barely recovered from the 2010 floods, are now faced with immense suffering once again, their cries for help ignored by the world. By doing so you will raise awareness and hopefully get people to act – and save lives.

Please take a few moments to share this message with others. It does not take much to help feed an internally displaced person (IDP), provide clothing, medical care and shelter. Encourage people to donate to help provide temporary relief now as well as economic support to get the IDPs back on their feet again later.

Here’s how to help: or (Read the related article with a detailed Q&A with SA Relief here.)

Below, press play to watch a news report by Shehryar Mirza of Express 24/7 that highlights the flood damage and displacement in interior Sindh: