WE can only hope that the state eventually makes good on its promises because for now, good intentions alone are evident: provincial disaster management authority trucks will soon arrive with relief goods, the PDMA has completed its initial survey of the losses and these will be submitted to the government soon, a plan to build container homes as temporary shelters has been finalised and the Quetta Electric Supply Company has set up an emergency cell. The director-general of the Earthquake Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Authority has said that the affected people will not be left on their own. All these words paint a rosy scenario. But on the ground, the picture is very different. Several days after the 7.8 magnitude earthquake flattened much of the border town of Mashkel, the roughly 15,000 people rendered homeless are still waiting for food, tents and potable water. They are still waiting for an indication of whether state and society are willing or able to help.

It is true that the state apparatus has generally been found to be sluggish and unable to cope whenever there are large numbers of people to be helped in emergency circumstances, be it in the aftermath of floods, large-scale displacement in the northwest or the current post-earthquake scenario. Yet, unfortunately, in Mashkel’s case relief efforts are being significantly hampered by the fact that it is so remote, and that road access is at best limited. Whatever few goods have reached the area have been flown in by Pakistan Army helicopters. Erra has promised now that the road network in the area will be improved and a water-provision scheme established. Mashkel was never the beneficiary of the sort of development it needed; now, it is doubly the victim.

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Comments (1) Closed

Apr 22, 2013 02:20pm
With an apology to you people of Pakistan.People suffering from the previous disasters like your earthquake and the massive floods are still awaiting for help and reconstruction, what makes you think that things will be different here.Take a good look at your system.How many countries are coming to your aid now? Now think back as to why they are not contributing. Give you a hint. Millions were given for the previous catastrophes and yet nothing much to show the world where the money and other aid went.The greed of your "certified recipients" on behalf of the government pocketing the aid is not lost on the world at large.We know what happened.Your government apparently it seems does not.No wonder it is perplexed as to why no aid is flowing in.