Sunday July 21, 2024

Flood crisis

By Dr Ramesh Kumar Vankwani
September 02, 2022

I am currently in the city of New York, but my heart is deeply disturbed by the devastation caused by the floods in Pakistan. The videos of the people trapped in the floods and crying for help have affected every human being. The horrific manner in which the floodwaters have destroyed villages, towns and cities across the country is very worrisome.

I have visited every region of Pakistan during my sociopolitical activities. I remember the good old days when tourists from all over the country and even from abroad used to visit the amazingly beautiful areas of Sindh, Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and in the northern regions.

Towns that were once full of life in the past, now horror and destruction reign there. People trapped in water are appealing to save their lives, vulnerable citizens living in backward villages have lost their livestock. Today, there is a terrible shortage of food. The lives of flood survivors are also threatened by snakes, scorpions and other poisonous insects. Infrastructure has been destroyed whereas the threat of looming epidemics is on rise.

The recent disaster has in fact caused huge damage to our national economy that needs a long time to be restored. However, I feel honored that the Pakistan Hindu Council, the plant I planted 17 years ago, has transformed itself into a tall tree. I am in New York but it’s really good to see that my team is serving humanity with national spirit.

Today, hundreds of volunteers associated with the council are making tireless efforts to safeguard people in different parts of the country. The council's 14 ambulances are helping people in distress. Our volunteers are going door to door providing rations and rescuing people drowning in floods.

There is a diverse public opinion on social media that the floods in Pakistan are due to the unusual torrential rains, this is a punishment for our sins, and God is angry with us, etc. However, we must understand that heavy rains also occur in other regions of the world, such as numerous storms in America, Australia and Europe. At the state level, precautionary measures are taken in advance for the well-being of people.

Similarly, climate change is affecting other modern countries, but the governments there are taking it as a challenge and figuring out the strategy to face them. I have been an active part of national politics for the past two decades, but I regret to say that climate change has never been one of our top priorities.

Indian PM Narendra Modi has expressed regret for the severe damage caused by the floods in Pakistan. While welcoming the gesture shown by him, I believe that just showing solidarity is not enough – the top leaders of our region need to sit together to initiate dialogue on public issues. It is time both countries cooperated with each other for the betterment of the people. Let’s forget the past and move forward. I am ready to play my best role in this regard.

I also would like to make an appeal to all our political parties that our beloved country is going through a critical time. We should put aside our political differences and help the people in trouble. The recent floods have caused a lot of damage to crops and livestock and we may also face a food crisis in the near future.

The recent crisis is also a lesson for us that today we are busy in our lives and neglecting others by calling them unlucky but the fact is that if today they are in trouble, tomorrow, God forbid, the same will happen to us. Today, the helpless victims are looking towards us for our special attention. We must try our best to support them in whatever capacity we can.

The writer is a member of the National Assembly and patron-in-chief of the Pakistan Hindu Council. He tweets @RVankwani