NEW - Vedic/Hindu Calendar for 2013

NEW - Vedic/Hindu Calendar for 2013
Shri Ramapir Mandir/Temple in Islamic Republic of Pakistan

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Pakistan : Poorest hit hardest by floods

By Gopinath Kumar (Executive Editor)
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
PAKISTAN (ACN News) : Local authorities in Pakistan decided against providing adequate flood protection to regions with high numbers of minority groups, according to a key Church figure, who says that the "poorest of the poor" are the worst victims of the current crisis.

The Church source, who cannot be named, described a deliberate failure to shore up key sections of the Indus River overlooking areas in the south-east Sindh province with a high density of tribal communities - minority religious groups made up of Christians and Hindus.

Speaking in an interview with Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need, he said local government figures in Sindh province conspired with prominent land owners to bolster the river bank running through their property and others deemed important at the expense of other regions which were left vulnerable to flood waters.

The Church source, a long-time key figure in the Sindh region, went further to claim that gravel and other minerals were taken from poor areas to shore up the river bank in areas earmarked as a priority for flood protection.

"It was not just incompetence on the part of the authorities to protect the poorest of the poor from potential floods, it was their deliberate intention that they should suffer if floods were to take place," he said. 

He spoke of his shock travelling around the region to find the river "unbelievably full" and yet big canals nearby were "relatively empty" leading him to suspect that the flood waters were diverted to areas of low importance.

"Charities and other organisations have to step up their efforts to help the disadvantaged people because they are the ones who have suffered most from these floods.

They have been ignored for far too long," the source said.

He said a high concentration of minority groups was the one common denominator in many of the regions worst affected by the floods including areas around Jacobabad, Sibi, Sukkur, Larkana, Shikarpur, Thatta and Ranipur.

In a country 95 per cent Muslim, the Sindh province has a disproportionately high number of minority groups with tribal communities, Christians, Hindus and Sikhs able to practise their faith more freely than elsewhere.

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