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Raining misery
Raining misery

Raining misery

Public surrounds Bilawal’s car and he preferred to remain seated 

The unprecedented monsoon spell that hit Baluchistan and Sindh, according to weather pundits, has been the most disastrous rainfall in six decades, since 1961, as the two provinces recorded 522 and 469 per cent, more than the normal downpour this year, respectively. “Sindh has received 680.5 millimetres of rain since July when the monsoon season actually began,” said a Met official.

Astonishingly abnormal rains attracted warnings from environmentalists, who termed it as the beginning of fresh challenges for the authorities as the much-hyped climate change had finally come knocking and though the provincial government had finalized the Sindh Climate Change Policy, it’s still being vetted by the law department and then the provincial Cabinet would approve it soon – let’s hope for early approval of the policy.

The Sindh government on Tuesday declared 23 districts of the province calamity-hit due to the devastation caused by extraordinary monsoon rains followed by devastating floods. But the sad fact is that the rain-affected lot is still forced to spend their nights under thick clouds without any shelter.

“Rain has continued to pour down for the last 24 hours. We took shelter under the shed of a nearby petrol pump where we spent the night with our families because we did not have a tent,” said Ali Akbar Magsi while sitting on a roadside with his family near Shahdadkot town.

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“We were told that a large number of tents are available at the office of Shahdadkot Mukhtiarkar, which is locked. They opened it and gave tents to those recommended by the influential people,” said Khokhar who left his home after the canal flowing through his village breached at several places. “We are five family members. How can we survive under this donkey-cart in heavy rain,” he lamented.

When Bilawal Bhutto visited his hometown Larkana along with the Sindh chief minister, his car was surrounded by the people who protested against the callous attitude of the Sindh Government towards the victims of heavy rains. He preferred to remain sitting in the car while Murad Ali Shah came out to listen to talk to the people.

While the stories of the indifferent attitude of the Sindh government are dominating YouTube, the devastation caused by incessant rains and floods in Pakistan’s Baluchistan, Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and southern districts of Punjab has become a major topic of discussion in social media.

While the users sharing pictures and videos of the flood victims are mentioning the difficulties faced by them, the indifference and mismanagement of the governments have also been made a special topic.

Various videos of residents in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Sindh, Balochistan and southern Punjab who have been facing the flood situation for several weeks are also featured on social media in which they complain about their distress and the inaction at the government level.

Users commenting on such scenes are strongly criticizing the agencies responsible for relief, especially governments. Fehmida Yousufi ridiculed the government’s attitude in her comment and wrote that ‘If you want to do good, do it like the government that distributed rations amounting to billions of rupees and no one knew about it.’

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Mainstream political parties and their governments’ focus on mere politics rather than relief to the victims has also been a cause of grief for social media activists.

Jamal Abdullah Usman wrote in a comment on the picture of the PTI rally held in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa district Haripur, ‘This is the Chief Minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. He belongs to the Swat district. In their own district, the ravages of floods are going on, but you won’t see them anywhere on the ground. His Twitter handle is also full of political topics.

Speaking to the media in Sukkur, Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah said that ‘300 people have been killed, more than 1,000 injured and more than 100,000 people have been rendered homeless by floods in the province so far. In the affected areas, 90 per cent of the crops that make up 2 million acres have been completely lost.

This conversation with the Chief Minister of Sindh was tweeted by the media cell of Sindh’s ruling party, the People’s Party. In response, the commenters objected that ‘your party has been in power for the last 15 years and you could not make such an arrangement.’

Pakistani cricketer Shahnawaz Dhani appealed for help to the victims and wrote that ‘deaths and people have become homeless due to the rains. The residents of the affected areas are requested to stay together and help each other.’

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