The flash floods have heavily devastated the livelihood of people in Balochistan whereas it has not become a concern of attention for the ruling elite and national media as of yet. National media has become the custodian of the elite who is struggling in the corridors of power at the federal capital. Hundreds of people have lost their lives, thousands of households have been destroyed and billions of agriculture of peasant communities have been ruined, but the government has not taken any effective and strategic initiative to compensate for the losses and counter disasters in upcoming spells of monsoon rains.
For the last few days, stories coming from Balochistan are very alarming. As per official data I have collected from concerned Deputy Commissioners, district Lasbela has reported the highest death toll with 29 causalities, Killa Abdullah has reported 12 deaths, Washuk district has reported 10 and other almost all districts have reported at least about 1 to 3 losses of human life due to the recent flash floods. However, many cases have gone unnoticed/unreported and other few victims of floods have even gone missing due to the inefficient government machinery and untrained Provincial Disaster Management Authority’s (PDMA) rescue team to trace them.
Poor families are left with no roofs to shelter themselves and they are struggling for a piece of bread. Life has become a misery for those who are living in far-flung areas of Balochistan and are deprived of communication with government authorities. The fact is that the population of Balochistan is very scattered and hundreds of families reside in areas where no means of communication and facilitation is available. In all circumstances, not only the state but the international community should come forward to help Balochistan and rescue it from a humanitarian crisis. Human loss is not a common loss. Balochistan is a province that has already remained a victim of a perpetual insurgency and other menaces such as continuous road accidents (due to unavailability of high ways) and poverty etc.
The province cannot bear further human and financial loss
Anyway, those authorities, social groups and NGOs who have been working for the last few weeks to help the flood victims in Baluchistan are highly appreciated. Balochistan Levies Force, Frontier Corps, Red Crescent Society of Balochistan and civil societies have particularly been making great efforts to rescue the people of Balochistan from natural disasters. Amid this disaster, the most important aspects that the people of Balochistan need our attention and care. They have been claiming that their grievances and their victimization are never the topics of debate on national T.V shows and other platforms.
National media in recent days has prioritized the political tactics of individuals but ignored the collective victimization of poor families of the province. No doubt, some channels have been highlighting the flood situations and relief activities, but the topic has never become the center of attention that it deserved. Interestingly, social media activists have been successful in helping a large segment of the affected people by highlighting the grievances and sharing means of access to the concerned victims. Recently, a video of Wahab Bugti (a renowned Baloch folk singer) went viral on social media and in a short span of time Bugti was accessed and helped by some or others. But thousands of other victims are still going unnoticed.
The recently announced package by the Prime Minister of Pakistan for the flood affectees is said to be beneficial for those marginalized families who have never become recognized and accessed so far, yet it cannot serve the purpose at all. A comprehensive survey is needed by a special team under the supervision of the Prime Minister to estimate the causalities faced by the people of Baluchistan and take effective measurements for their compensation.
The people of Balochistan, who are victims of flash floods, are still optimizing to be the talk of the day in national media and the motive of official meetings in the federal capital. It is high time the federal government requested international communities’ support so as to overcome this disaster. Especially, the children and women are in intense need of medical relief and rehabilitation.
The writer is a former teacher at Challenger English Academy, Quetta and a student of Law at Punjab university, Lahore. He tweets @irshadhameed16. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.