Socialist Worker

Pakistan flood: US rains down death as villagers starve

by Yuri Prasad
Issue No. 2216

The flooding crisis in Pakistan continues to grow as thousands flee the historic city of Thatta in Sind after the Indus River broke a levee and flooded new areas.

Around 175,000 people, almost three quarters of the city’s population, are thought to have fled their homes overnight, said government official, Manzoor Sheikh.

“The situation is getting worse,’ said disaster official Hadi Baksh Kalhoro. “The water is flowing into a nearby canal endangering Thatta city.”

Evidence of the growing crisis, and the completely inadequate response of the Pakistani state and the “international community”, can be read in postings on the Pakistan Fisher Folk Forum.

One report comes from towns on the outskirts of Thatta:

“The situation of camps at Makli. This is the only safe place nearby and has attracted a wide number of affected people…[conditions are] miserable, as there was no food for the people, who were staying in the open.

“More than 100,000 people have migrated from different flood affected areas and are still pouring into there. They were crying for rations. The lack of food and shelter has exposed these people to the weather effects.

“In this situation it was obvious that due to the unavailability of food, safe water and health facilities the lives of women and children are under threat.”

Activists from the Pakistan Fisher Folk are using their small boats to attempt to rescue stranded villagers, and take food and medical supplies to others who are cut off.

Their brave efforts stand in contrast to the US military that seem otherwise preoccupied—despite claiming that they are in the country to help ordinary people.

A US drone fired four missiles on two vehicles in the Shaidano Dand area of Kurram on Friday night.

At least six people are reported dead, but the toll is expected to rise as more villagers trapped under the rubble of a building are discovered.

According to local residents, the drones were still carrying out aerial flights over the area after the initial attack, creating panic among people.

Since August 2008, over 1,000 have died in raids by US drones which have frequently targeted South and North Waziristan—areas which have been heavily affected by the recent floods.

If the Nato forces in neighbouring Afghanistan were to divert even a fraction of their efforts towards humanitarian relief many thousands of lives could be saved. But it seems that the ‘war on terror’ is far too important for that.

Pakistan Fisher Folk Forum

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Sat 28 Aug 2010, 14:37 BST
Issue No. 2216
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