BALOCHISTAN has been reeling from floods that have caused large-scale devastation. Presently, almost half of provincial population is facing tough times owing to heavy rainfall. What is making things worse is the government’s indifferent attitude towards the misery.

The infrastructure has been fully destroyed and left dysfunctional by the floods. In this crisis, marooned people have been finding it hard to move to safer areas, and have not been able to communicate and travel because there is no reliable infrastructure left. Large tracts of land remain inundated by floodwater, and it is simply impossible to make any movement with any degree of certainty.

Some areas of Balochistan, like Awaran are disconnected presently from the rest of the country due to damaged roads. However, no one from the government has ever paid a visit to the affected area. Sadly, several people have died and thousands are spending their days and nights in the open because their homes have been swept away. Due to lack of rescue services, one can even see bodies floating in rainwater.

On the one hand, people are worried about their loved ones’ lives, while on the other, they keep calculating in their minds what might be a better option for themselves; to survive the misery and rebuild after the monsoon is over, or to simply die once. In case they survive, they will have to die many a death every day. They cannot afford to buy two meals per day owing to lack of employment opportunities in everyday life; how will they have their homes rebuilt?

After the collapse of bridges on highways in different parts of Balochistan, thousands of passengers have been stranded, waiting for some kind of help, but all in vain. Many passengers and other people are trapped in areas where no one can supply food. Children are dying of hunger. There is anxiety among the people who have lost their livelihood and loved ones in the catastrophe. Those who are at home are worried about those who are not at home, fearing they might have died owing to floods.

According to reports, Lasbela is the most affected district from where loss of life has been reported the most. Unfortunately, the provincial government is apathetic to the people’s misery. While Balochistan faces a critical situation, those in the power corridors do not bother thinking about the flood victims.

To rub salt into the wound, mainstream media is busy broadcasting frivolous, silly news, such as about a particular actress who lost her shoes. This is really condemnable, to say the least.

Balochistan, as usual, is being ignored and given a cold shoulder by the provincial and federal governments. This silence and inaction on the part of the governments is painful and unfair.

The provincial government should visit the flood-affected areas, restore communication, give relief funds, clear the roads, and provide shelter to the people till their houses are rebuilt. And, it will help if the dignitaries could avoid the temptation of visiting the affected areas in some helicopter. Trust me, it does not give them any practical input about what needs to be done on the ground.

It is time the authorities played their role. Their apathy will further increase the sense of deprivation and marginali-sation among the people of the province.

Zakeer Zakreeya
Awaran

Published in Dawn, August 13th, 2022

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