The Pakistan Floods 2010

An overview on the 2010 Pakistan Floods
Pakistan had been experiencing floods almost every year during the monsoon season around July and August. However, monsoon rain in this year’s late July triggered floods up to 3.2m high and landslides starting from the north-west of Pakistan and is gradually spreading towards the south, making it Pakistan’s worst flood in 80 years. The flood destroyed 17 Acres of farmland in Pakistan’s most impoverished and volatile regions such as Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab, Sindh and Balochistan which were already affected by the terrorist groups Taliban and Al-Qaeda. Furthermore, the structural damage caused by the flood was also extremely serious, estimated to cost the government at least US$40 billion, the crop damage which would cost them about US$ 500 million and the estimated economic impact being US$43 billion.

Pakistan is only a nation with a semi-developed economy which is very fragile and such high cost would pose a very big problem to the government. Furthermore, the staple food of Pakistanis is rice and when so many farms were affected by the flood, food supplies will definitely decrease and this may cause inflation in the future even with the help of other nations. Lastly, farming forms about 20% of Pakistan’s GDP which means that the growth rate of Pakistan’s economy will be slowed down very greatly. UN also warned that in order for Pakistan to recover what was lost, it would probably take several years. According to the Pakistan government and UN, about 16.8 million people have been affected both directly and indirectly by the flood and there were approximately 2000 fatalities. Among those who were affected, over 4 million people lose their home and had to squeeze in 5000 schools in the affected region. This caused diseases such as cholera to spread easily which may also increase the number of fatalities. Moreover, clean water and sanitation are needed urgently as this will also help slow down the rate of waterborne diseases such as Cholera from spreading according to WHO as healthcare-infrastructure in hospitals was also damaged by the flood. Lastly, due to the increase in water level, diseases spread by mosquitoes such as malaria and dengue fever had increased dramatically to about 120,000 cases and skin infections and diarrhoea had also affected many due to poor living conditions now. Due to all of these factors, there were riots in the affected area.

Fortunately, several countries and organisations were willing to help Pakistan. A total of US$800 million was donated by several countries with Norway, Saudi Arabia and Denmark being some of the major donors and even India which was Pakistan’s rival in cricket donated to help them. Organisations such as UN raised 70% of the promised US$460 million, ADB was willing to lend US$2 billion, World Bank was willing to lend US$900 million and additionally provided them with US$1.3 million. Ailment such as food and water was also sent to the citizens by throwing them off helicopters by nations such as USA and Britain, organisations such as Humanity First sent medicine to hospitals and Red Cross provided ailment such as shelter and food and clean water supplies for over 100 000 affected people. Last but not least, several campaign were held to raise fund and public awareness on the flood. For example, if one SMS F-L-O-O-D to a certain number in America, a specific amount of money will be donated and there were also blogs and websites to raise public awareness and they also act as donation drives (e.g.http://pakistanflood2010.blogspot.com/)

Even though many nations and organisations lend a helping hand to Pakistan, several nations were still blamed due to slow response for such a devastating disaster. For instance, India which was situated right beside Pakistan was blamed by the UN for keeping silent during the calamity and China and Saudi Arabia which were Pakistan’s closest allies for their slow response to Pakistan’s call for aid. Furthermore, the UN also blamed international communities for responding too slowly, for such a serious catastrophe, raising only US$45 million is not enough. Lastly, the Pakistan government was also blamed by the citizens as their response was very slow and disorganised which did not really helped the citizens much, additionally, President Asif Ali Zardari only returned back to Pakistan 2 weeks after the flood started after he went for a meeting with British and France leaders. This thus lead to riot in Pakistan and is probably a very good time for terrorist groups or opposing Islamic parties to strike and cause trouble.
Though help was provided and the conditions had gone better, the worst is not over yet. 2 of the opposing islamic parties, Jamaat-E-Islami and Lashkar-E-Taiba were already making use of this period to gain the citizens' support by providing aids and due to Pakistan's corrupted government, there were not many obstacles in their way and they probably could easily gain the support of the citizens' and weaken the government's control. Lastly, USA had bombed Pakistan several times as part of the "War against terrorism" as Pakistan was a safe haven for dangerous terrorist groups such as Taliban and Al-Qaeda and thus by being one of the major donors to the flood, do they simply just feel sympathetic for the Pakistan as this disaster would cause its economy to plunge extremely badly or did they had another motive and it was all a hypocrisy?


external image _48589174_pak_floodsall_sat_464map.jpg

*Satellite images showing the extent of the flooding

worst affected areas
worst affected areas

*Image showing the relief areas
key locations image
key locations image

*Image showing the affected areas
external image 60224858-pakistan-floods.jpg
*Image showing the damages done by the flood

external image pakistan-floods-2010-7-29-10-30-50.jpg
*Image showing the water level of the flood initially
external image Pakistan-floods-Rescue.jpg
*Images showing rescue efforts

Supplementary Videos

4)http://www.usatoday.com/news/opinion/editorials/2010-08-20-editorial20_ST_N.htm__ =
11)http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE66T3RS20100819__ 12)http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20100819/wl_nm/us_pakistan_floods_122

Critique review

Out of sympathy or just a hypocrisy?
Most of the time, major natural disasters do is to cause physical damages, resulting in victims losing their home and precious ones and the country to suffer an economy set-back. However, this is not the case for the recent Pakistan flood. While others are simply just normal humanitarian disasters including the 2004 Tsunami and Haiti Earthquake, this flood which seemed claimed lesser lives than the disasters mentioned is definitely more than a humanitarian disaster and is probably a time bomb to a massive physical and economic destruction which may even affect the world. Thus, USA decided to help Pakistan by being one of the major donor. However, was it all just a hypocrisy and that was the main motive, or were they so overwhelmed with sympathy that they had to do so when there so many incidents such as the 2008 economic crisis and BP oil-spill draining the country's economy?

US needs a stable Pakistan to deal with the Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan as part of the "War against terrorism" and they were afraid that militants capitalize on the floods, we could assume that they might take babies who become orphans and then put them in their own camps, train them as the terrorists of tomorrow. Furthermore, Pakistan is part of the Major non-NATO ally (MNNA) which is a designation given by the United States government to exceptionally close allies who have close strategic working relationships with US armed forces but are not members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. While the MNNA status does not automatically include a mutual defense pact with the United States, it does confer a variety of military and financial advantages from 2004 onwards.

After 9/11, Pakistan, led by General Pervez Musharraf, reversed course under pressure from the United States and joined the "War on Terror" as a US ally. Having failed to convince the Taliban to hand over bin Laden and other members of Al Qaeda, Pakistan provided the U.S. a number of military airports and bases for its attack on Afghanistan, along with other logistical support. Since 2001, Pakistan has arrested over five hundred Al-Qaeda members and handed them over to the United States; senior U.S. officers have been lavish in their praise of Pakistani efforts in public while expressing their concern that not enough was being done in private. However, General Musharraf was strongly supported by the Bush administration – a common theme throughout Pakistan's relations with the US has been US support of military dictators to the detriment of democracy in Pakistan.
In return for their support, Pakistan had sanctions lifted and has received about $10 billion in U.S. aid since 2001, primarily military. In June 2004, President George W. Bush designated Pakistan as a major non-NATO ally, making it eligible, among other things, to purchase advanced American military technology.
Pakistan has lost thousands of lives since joining the U.S. war on terror in the form of both soldiers and civilians, and is currently going through a critical period. Suicide bombs are now commonplace in Pakistan, whereas they were unheard of prior to 9/11. The Taliban have been resurgent in recent years in both Afghanistan and Pakistan. Hundreds of thousands of refugees have been created internally in Pakistan, as they have been forced to flee their homes as a result of fighting between Pakistani forces and the Taliban in the regions bordering Afghanistan and further in Swat. In addition, the economy is in an extremely fragile position.

A key campaign argument of U.S. President Barack Obama's was that the US had made the mistake of "putting all our eggs in one basket" in the form of General Musharraf. Musharraf was eventually forced out of office under the threat of impeachment, after years of political protests by lawyers, civilians and other political parties in Pakistan. With President Obama coming into office, the U.S. is expected to triple non-military aid to Pakistan to $1.5 billion per year over 10 years, and to tie military aid to progress in the fight against militants. The purpose of the aid is to help strengthen the relatively new democratic government led by President Zardari and to help strengthen civil institutions and the general economy in Pakistan, and to put in place an aid program that is broader in scope than just supporting Pakistan's military. We can thus tell that the reason why USA is being a major as both countries are allies in the war against terrorism and USA needs a stable Pakistan to deal with terrorist groups such as taliban and Al-Qaeda so it was all just USA's hypocrisy and they were not really sympathetic due to the massive damage done to the country.

However, to a certain extent, they were sympathetic and decided to become one of the major donors. One could tell as there were food riots and social unrest in Pakistan and as Pakistan's government was biased to certain race and gave them priority and they were unable to do much to help the citizen. Thus, it could be possible that they sympathize the government as they had to deal with all of these problems even when the flood already caused its economy to plunge very badly and decided to help by being one of the major donors. However, there is also another side to this, USA may think that the social unrest and food riots would be a very good time for opposing Islamic or extremist groups to strike and once again, it is all because of USA's hypocrisy.

Podcast -- The wildest way to express what the victims wanted: Gimme More Lyrics
(Verse 1)
The flood condition seemed better
But then we all lost our hoes for sure
Pakistan government can’t help us
I think all we can do is depend on others to
Throw down food supplies as though they were bombs
See any difference, from terrorist bombing an area
Everyone’s fighting for it and I ended with nothing
With nothing, it made me feel like saying
Gimme gimme more
Gimme more
Gimme gimme more
Gimme gimme more
Gimme more
Gimme gimme more
Gimme gimme more
Gimme more
Gimme gimme more
Gimme gimme more
Gimme more
Gimme gimme more
(Verse 2)
Then I end up catching cholera,
gotta be sent to the nearest hospital
I need not fight food over there
But there were many patients who were like me too
Unclean water caused all of this
We keep complaining, we keep complaining
When the hospital run out of medicine
Doctors keep saying, doctor keep saying
You better manufacture them and
Gimme gimme more
Gimme more
Gimme gimme more
Gimme gimme more
Gimme more
Gimme gimme more
Gimme gimme more
Gimme more
Gimme gimme more
Gimme gimme more
Gimme more
Gimme gimme more

A Resource For Current Affairs
by Ulric Teo Wei Jie , Lua Jiong Wei, Gareth Lim and Tsang Bao Xian.