‘People of Sindh resilient, but present crisis most testing’


The people of Sindh are most patient and resilient in times of crisis and natural disaster, but they have never been tested as much as they are today, provincial Electric Power Minister Shazia Marri said in a statement issued on Sunday.
Speaking in her native village Berani in Sanghar district, Marri said that the unprecedented torrential rains have affected over six million people across the province and led to the loss of over 300 lives.
“We were still in the process of recovering from the last year’s floods, when we have been hit by another catastrophe,” she said.
“The UN has estimated that these rains are as damaging as the floods in 2010.”
Marri said that the rains in Sindh that leading experts are attributing to climate change are the highest ever recorded during the four-week period between August and September.
Speaking on the massive losses endured by Sindh during the rains, she said that crops of cotton, rice and sugarcane were extensively damaged, seasonal vegetables almost completely destroyed and over 100,000 livestock killed.
In Sanghar, all cotton crops were destroyed and the livelihood of thousands has been lost. “In addition to people losing their homes and their livelihood, there is widespread fear of waterborne diseases including malaria, gastroenteritis and dengue,” she said.
“Many feet of accumulated water have become breeding grounds for numerous diseases,” she added.
Marri said that while such catastrophic events cannot be avoided, it was imperative that their intensity is not increased by human practices or ignorance.
She said that the natural flow of water should not be stopped and distribution of relief goods needs to be strategically managed at the lowest level in every affected district.
Marri also regretted the shortage of volunteers, particularly for medical relief in the affected areas.
“Disasters of such magnitude cannot be combated by the government alone,” she said. “All stakeholders within and outside Pakistan must contribute in human or material resources. Such calamities are nation building times, and warrant the youth of Pakistan to step up to the challenge of the day and work actively to bring the nation out of this crisis,” she added.
Reiterating President Asif Ali Zardari’s appeal to the international community, Marri said that the country is already engaged in serious efforts to combat terrorism that is causing an enormous financial burden and maximum support is needed from the international community.
“This support is required not only in the rescue phase, but in the greater challenge of rehabilitation of the affected populace,” she added.
Marri said that the president and prime minister are entirely focused on bringing the people of Sindh out of this crisis. “I am sure that the prime minister’s visit to Sanghar would yield positive results for rescue efforts in the area,” she added.
Marri, who has been distributing relief goods in the dehs of different union councils in Sanghar, said that it is important for more people to visit the disaster-stricken areas so that they may experience first hand the misery there and understand the value of life – be it that of a human or an animal.