Wedesday, 25 Augest, 2010
Others may plant another crop of cane, which will be sown in February and harvested the following October, 14 months away. Before that, they will have no income whatsoever. The generosity of these people’s relatives cannot possibly carry them through. They are also ruined, and there are millions of them.
This disaster is not like an earthquake or a tsunami. In the 2005 earthquake in northern Pakistan, 80,000 people died more or less at one blow; whereas the immediate death toll from this flood is likely to be in the low thousands. The loss of property, however, is catastrophic. It is as if a neutron bomb exploded, but instead of killing the people and leaving their houses intact, it swept away the villages and crops and animals, leaving the people tragically alive.
For months and even years, the people of the Indus Valley will not have sufficient income for food or clothing. They will rebuild, if they can afford it, by inches. The impoverished Pakistani government cannot possibly make these people’s lives whole again. It’s not hard to imagine the potential for radicalization in a country already rapidly turning to extremist political views, to envision the anarchy that may be unleashed if wealthier nations do not find a way to provide sufficient relief. This is not a problem that will go away, and it is the entire world’s problem.