Sandy victims: another view
THIS is with reference to Syed Nayyar Iqbal’s letter ‘Sandy victims and the difference’ (Nov 3). The writer has falsely assumed that the consequential impact of natural calamities stand the same for the developed and the developing nations of the world.
In our part of the world, individuals have always been, and perhaps will continue, to be named as ‘affected ones’ as long as the rescue and rehabilitation services do not bring them back to or at the least close to their pre-disaster state of living.
In this country where the government is barely able to make ends meet, an annual encounter with diverse catastrophes ranging from landslides and earthquakes to floods and threatening rainfalls supplies the corruption-struck authorities with a backbreaking burden to deal with.
There are tons of examples of people from the flood-afflicted areas of Pakistan who lost their property to never gain it back.
Why? The answer is because there is no or very scarce rebuilding activities on the government front. And have these farmers ever heard of flood insurance let alone claiming one? Probably no. When you have a fear that what is gone is not coming back, all you do is weep and wail and not smile and wave.
How ironic it is that a day after Sandy hit, the number of casualties mentioned in two news items on a same news page differed only slightly. However, the difference in magnitude of both differed drastically from being as low as only 50 for a cruel superstorm, encompassing vast geographical areas to being as high as 26 for an isolated bus accident. This is a classic example of difference in value of a human life between the industrialised and the Third World countries where scores of people in the latter are left to die in the face of lack of preparedness, ill-management and restrained resources.
Moreover, I was surprised to receive a text from a friend in New Jersey on the third post-storm day, claiming to have power and network back and fully functioning. This is why people in America do not cry and they are ‘the survivors’ because they know that there will be lots of things to survive for, whereas a flood-affected Pakistani still cries and longs for the sweet little home and piece of working land in his village to which he knows he is never going back.
DR SANA BARKAT ALI