Flood 2010 Update
Friday, 20 August 2010
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has said the Pakistan flooding is the worst natural disaster he has ever seen - as more heavy rain heads towards the worst-hit areas, reports Geo.Read more »
Flood 2010 update
Thursday, 19 August 2010
The number of Pakistani flood victims in need of urgent humanitarian relief has risen from six million to eight million, the United Nations said on Thursday.
More than 1,400 people have been killed and a staggering 20 million people have been affected by devastating monsoon rains in Pakistan. Entire villages, roads, bridges and millions of hectares of crops have been washed away by the ongoing deluge. See CNN images here.
Labels: Floods 2010
Wednesday, 18 August 2010
The country's worst ever-humanitarian disaster has ravaged an area roughly the size of England, affected 20 million people, exacerbated a crippling energy crisis and raising fears of social unrest.
"It seems we're doomed to walking through a dark tunnel. We're on an unending path of misery," said Morio Pahore, a farmer from small town Thul in southern Pakistan who is now living in a tent on a highway.
Shirtless, his face burnt dark by the sun, the greying 50-year-old said he lost everything when the rains fell and the river burst its banks.
"We had goats and buffalo and a wooden hut. We had grain to eat. The river ate everything, leaving the whole family hungry and empty-handed.
"I don't think we can start again for many years. Everything is under water and even if the river recedes, the water will be there for a long time."
It is a tragedy repeated millions of times over for farmers and peasants across the country who saw their livelihoods washed away in minutes after the floods first hit three weeks ago.
Agriculture accounts for 20 percent of Pakistan's gross domestic product. President Asif Ali Zardari said it would take two years to provide farmers with crops, fertilisers, seeds and food. Experts say it will take far longer.
On top of that, floods have inflicted widespread damage on infrastructure. In cities, flood waters have destroyed electricity installations, roads and phone lines.
The World Bank, which has announced a 900 million dollar loan for Pakistan, expects the economic impact to be huge, indicating that direct damage was greatest in housing, roads, irrigation and agriculture.
It estimated crop loss at one billion dollars, saying the full impact on soil erosion and agriculture could only be assessed when the water recedes around mid-September.
"We have lost around 20 percent of our cotton crops. The destruction of corn, rice, sugarcane, vegetable crops and fish farms are enormous as well," Ibrahim Mughal, who heads the independent Agri Forum organisation, told media.
Damage to cotton, rice, sugarcane and maize will hit the export sector, the main source for Pakistan's forex reserves. Textiles and agriculture account for about three quarters of Pakistan's 21 billion dollar export target this year.
"The floods have eaten three million tons of cotton -- over 20 percent of our 14 million bales for this year. It will negatively affect by 25 percent large-scale manufacturing and ultimately impact on exports," Ashfaq Hasan Khan, a former government economic adviser, told media.
There are fears that Pakistan risks running up a higher fiscal deficit which would lead to increased government borrowing.
Before the floods, the country had a healthy forex reserve of 16.45 billion dollars, thanks to a 11.3 billion dollar IMF rescue package meant to stave off Pakistan's worst balance of payment crisis and 30-year-high inflation in 2008.
After recording its lowest growth in a decade, GDP had been expected to grow by 4.5 percent in the fiscal year ending June 30, 2011, but the floods could shave at least one percent off growth estimates.
"Our assessment suggests Pakistan could achieve about 3.5 percent GDP growth rate this fiscal year," Khan said. "It means a loss of around two billion dollars."
Pakistan's UN envoy in Geneva, Zamir Akram, has said reconstruction in northern areas alone could cost 2.5 billion dollars.
Food prices are already rising and there are fuel shortages in some areas.
The director general of the Pakistan Electric Power Company, Muhammad Khalid, told media they faced losses of more than four billion rupees (47 million dollars) due to the floods with some grid stations wiped out.
Around 1,000 villages in flood-hit districts of southern Punjab are without power, said Jamshaid Niazi, spokesman for Multan Electricity Supply Company. "Our two grid stations are badly affected," he said.
"The loss is huge. We have to install new poles, wires, feeders etc."
Experts have urged the government -- already weak and unpopular -- to move quickly, warning that the losses could fan unemployment and social unrest.
"The peasants are our lifeline, so by not helping them we are in fact committing suicide," Agri Forum's Mughal said.
"Jobless people can become criminals if they can't get employment. In this case, the number of such people is in the millions."
Impediments to relief
Friday, 13 August 2010
Pakistan has faced various disasters since its birth till date and contemporary floods is one of them. It is the worst disaster in the history of Pakistan in which more than 13 million people have become homeless while more than three thousand have perished. So far Pakistan has lost trillions of rupees in terms of property, crops and livestock. With this emerging state of affairs it was the need of the hour to help the flood victims. However, in the beginning the process of collecting donations was slow but gradually it gained momentum when the organisations and nation on the whole came forward to help their dear brothers in time of calamity.
If, we remember the horrendous earthquake which shook the roots of the country in 2005, people came out of their houses massively and contributed whole heartedly. Women of strong families donated gold and their precious items just, to save the need ones. At that time people of our nation contributed generously for the cause with a passionate dedication but now that drive is missing.
Now the urge to help flood victims seems to be ‘missing’ somewhere. This time the flood has destroyed the lives of many and the efforts to help them constructively have taken a back-seat. Recently, Sunday Plus of Daily The Nation had a chance to visit several relief camps that are being set up by the different NGOs, political parties, religious and welfare organisations in Lahore.
As per directive of the President of Pakistan Asif Ali Zardari, PPP Lahore has established the central relief camp outside of the Masjid-i-Shohda at Regal Chowk, the Mall. “We have sent more than twenty trucks of dry food, mineral water bottles, clothes and old shoes to flood victims. Apart from collecting goods, people have approached us for donationsm stated Zahid Zulfiqar PPP activist.
He further emphasised that media has been reporting in a bias manner and doing its best to defame President Asif Ali Zardari. He also made an appeal to Pakistani nation to contribute generously in these difficult times.
Camps have also been organised by Pakistan Muslim League (Q) with an aim to support the nation in terrible times. They have arranged relief camps in various parts of the city but central camp has been placed outside the Masjid-i-Shohda at Regal Chowk. “The camp is collecting dry food edibles, flour bags, tents, cash and numerous items of daily usages under the super vision of Ahmad Faran Khan Chief coordinator of relief camps Punjab and Zahid Choudhary President PML Q Youth Wing, Punjab.
He further commented that, in the beginning people did not realise the disaster. They didn’t know whom to trust or not as government has done nothing to win the trust of the people. According to him, the people of Pakistan are always ready to sacrifice every thing for their fellow beings, but there is a need to mobilise them. Gradually people are becoming aware about the worst flood which has hit the country and donating money also. “We have people coming from all strata of society even beggars are passionately donating their money,” stated, Ahmad Farhan Khan.
“PML-Q has sent more than eight trucks of relief goods to ruin areas of Muzzafargarh, Rajanpur, D.G Khan and Layya,” told President PML-Q Ch. Pervez Elahi who personally preferred to go with these trucks. He is spending many days over there with the flood affected areas for monitoring the relief works rather than leaving the flood victims alone while government is providing the relief goods through helicopters and various goods are being wasted.
“Leaders are prone to make speeches only but practically do nothing. Every day we are collecting more than sixty thousand rupees which are being spent to purchase the dry food edibles, new clothes, all pulses, first aid medicines, shoes and tents as well. PML Q will not leave the victims alone and keep the spirit of support alive,” Ahmad Faran Khan added.
Minhaj-ul-Quran Foundation, is a renowned religious organisation. It has always stood by the people of Pakistan in disastrous hours. They have set up a relief camp at the Regal Chowk. “We are providing dry food, pulses, dates, flour bags, medicines and tents to the flood victims on daily basis. The Foundation also provides cooked food to more than two lakhs people every day in areas of south Punjab, Sindh and Noshehra. We have proper tenting system in which Minhaj’s medical camp is treating thousands of patients on the spot,” A.D. Haider an activist told the media.
Pakistan Tehrik Insaf, is also seen in action in this regard and it has established relief camp at the Regal Chowk. “We are gathering more than fifty thousand rupees regularly and now people are willingly coming to support flood affected people, earlier the response was not so good. Most of the people are donating cash,” stated, Sh. Arif PTI Vice President Youth Wing Lahore. The party has arranged 15 funds generating camps across the Lahore.
The Traders Wing of the Mall Road of Pakistan Muslim League-N has done brilliant job under the super vision of political activists Shahbaz Haider, Naeem Mir and Mian Shafqat Saeed by handling over the cheque of rupees 10 millions to Punjab government. They have also established a relief camp at Chairing Cross in front of Punjab Assembly and Hall Road as well.
Personally, they are collecting relief goods and have sent loaded trucks to the affected areas. They have set the targets of forwarding four to five trucks of relief good and cooked food as well.
“This time the spirit is there but it needs backing up. If you remember people donated widely in 2005 earthquake but it wasn’t used properly, so this time reservation is there but spirit is moving on,” stated, Iqbal Haider and Mian Shafqat Saeed.
Falah Insaniyat Foundation, Lahore is also working to provide the relief goods to the flood affected areas. “We are generating funds and collecting relief goods from everywhere. We have sent five trucks to Peshawer and Charsadda and more than twenty trucks to Layya, Mianwali, D.G Khan, Rajanpur and other areas. Peoples’ response is not very good this time,” Kashif explained.
Alkhidmat Foundation of Jammat-i-Islami has set up 20 relief camps in Lahore. “People mostly are donating cash and dry food edibles. We are sitting here for the last ten days and people have started coming out for donations. In fact people are suffering from having price hike and this is also main reason due to which they are not coming forward to help the flood victims. Now the situation is improving and common man is donating. We are providing medicines, clothes and food edibles to affected areas, said, Amir ul Azeem.
Shazia Saleem from Pak Generation Development Foundation is also collecting the relief good for the flood victims. She is collecting goods for one week and wants to continue the relief camp till one month. Only five percent of people have contributed this time.
Renowned dress designer B.G and actress Sheeba Butt are actively raising funds. They participated in the campaign of ‘Waqt News’ Relief Camp in which they appealed to the nation for donating their budget of entertainment and new clothes for the flood victims. B.G has already established relief camp out side her home in Gulberg and she is committed to go the affected areas with many trucks of relief goods.
Tuesday, 10 August 2010
I was in my village where I saw what flood is doing to people living on the bank of River Jhelum. Here are some images collected from all over by my friends Pervaiz Alvi and Zafar Iqbal Durrani. (thanks to both) They tell some of the stories what flood is doing to the people of Pakistan, particularly those living along the rivers. As per the reports, some 2.5 million people are affected by flood 2010. There are no conclusive estimates of the loss of property and lives yet.
Read more »
Top 10 Intelligence Agencies in the World
Wednesday, 4 August 2010
ISI's success in achieving its goal without leading to a full scale invasion of Pakistan by the Soviets is a feat unmatched by any other through out the intelligence world. KGB, The best of its time, failed to counter ISI and protect Soviet interests in Central Asia. This GOLD MEDAL makes it rank higher than Mossad. It has had 0 double agents or Defectors through out its history, considering that in light of the whole war campaign it carried out from money earned by selling drugs bought from the very people it was bleeding, The Soviets.
ISI has protected its Nuclear Weapons since formed and it has foiled Indian attempts to attain ultimate supremacy in the South-Asian theatres through internal destabilization of India. It is above All laws in its host country Pakistan ‘A State, with in a State’. Its policies are made ‘outside’ of all other institutions with the exception of The Army. Its personnel have never been caught on camera. Its is believed to have the highest number of agents worldwide, close to 10,000. The most striking thing is that its one of the least funded Intelligence agency out of the top 10 and still the strongest.
I don't agree with some of the observations of the reviewer.
I don't agree with some of the observations of the reviewer.
Thanks to Zafar Iqbal Durrani for head up.
Read about the other 9 Best Intelligence Agencies in the World
Read about the other 9 Best Intelligence Agencies in the World
Climbing the mountain had been on my mind for almost all my life, particularly ever since I did a course in Rock Repelling and trekked some softer mountains up in the North. But I have never climbed K 2 or Nanga Parbat -- icons of Pakistani climbing, as identifiable and as famous as the Mount Everest. I have been pretty close to them, at the distance that seemed nearly close enough to touch their summits. In different capacities, I had lived some of my life in the base camps of these majestic mountains and some others in Northern Pakistan; with mountaineers, explorers and adventurers from all over the world.
Sitting in the base camps, I have seen determined, committed and sponsored climbers arrive at base camps; some less savvy teams taking a look around and going back. Some staying and waiting for the weather breaks that do not come; some even taking a start only to abort and some conquering the mighty mountains. Staying in base camps is important for climbers to give their bodies more time to acclimate to the elevations.
Life at all base camps is almost the same. Mess tents are the best places in the base camps where every one huddles like a living rooms. It usually is a hole climbers dig in the snow or rocks and cover it with tarp or it is a natural cubby hole behind and in between rocks. "You eat and drink (hot tea, coffee) your way to the top," is a way of life with climbers. Climbers get up early in the morning because moving early in the morning is essential for crossing snow bridges that melt in the midday sun.
While in a camp in the foot of K 2, during the night, cold sometime turns the interior of the tents into a freezer in need of defrosting. Once I sat up, I brushed against the side of the tent and snow fell down the back of my jacket. During day it is quiet and beautiful but lonely because most inhabitants go out.
My longest and unique experience in the base camp has been with an expedition to Nanga Parbat. Most major expedition going for Nanga Parbat stay at the Letabo Base Camp, also known as Herligcoffer base camp (named after a German climber and expedition organizer under the shadow of the great mountain). A Koreans expedition was already camped alongside the fresh water stream in Letabo when we arrived there. They greeted us warmly. We stayed the night at Letabo, decided to set a camp further ahead, and early morning set off for final leg of trek to our base camp. This site was suggested by one of the team member who had come here a few years ago to climb with another expedition. We climbed up through the narrow gorge, which opens into a relatively flat bowl shaped feature that is approximately 1000 meters higher then the Letabo Base Camp and much cooler and windy due to narrow tunnel effect of the valley.
This was the place where I was to spend rest of the period while the others were to attempt climbing Nanga Parbat. Gull Khan, a middle aged and very lively man from Hunza with local anecdote for every occasion, was the cook. He had told me to suck on lemon while walking long and hard on hills. "It quenches thrust and gives energy," he had said. I am reminded of the folk axiom every time I walk on mountains. He quickly established the kitchen behind a big boulder. Climbers began their work: reconnaissance, studying weather and establishing advance camps. In the base, I spent most of my time exploring nearby features and contemplating matters of life.
One early morning, when the climbers were going out for reconnaissance, I also got up to see the famous sunrise in the Valley. I donned my high altitude outfit, carried necessary gears and sat on a nearby spur looking towards the resplendent peak. At this time the morning sky is like a jet-black canopy, pierced randomly by the light of a myriad of stars. In the crisp morning air and backed by a tone of purest yellow, where you least expect it, the rosy rays of dawn start colouring the sky. Ahead to the east, nothing seems to be happening. A deep silence shrouds the Valley. Then suddenly it is there, the highest slant of the sun breaching the horizon like a diamond, its light coming from across the sea of cloud like a shining sword blade. Within seconds, the full orb is in view, splendid and serene, like a king arriving in dignity to repossess once again his control from the rule of night.
One sees mountains constantly changing colours with the rising sun. Orange, green, rust, turquoise and blue are only some of the shades one witnesses while the sun is committed to its journey westwards and the morning ripens ever so slowly over the sleeping landscape. The area as a whole is a hymn to the morning. From when the stars begin to fade long before sunrise to the strong glow of noon, the valley is at its best. Freshness and newness are morning's hallmarks, and at a high altitude, unpolluted atmosphere such as found in the valley is felt in all its original purity in a way that cannot easily be matched at lower elevations. Witnessing transformation of the valley into splendid natural artefact is a unique and awe inspiring experience, still etched in my mind.
Related: Profile of Mountain Movers - Pakistan Porters
Thatta Kedona Dolls' Repair
Sunday, 1 August 2010
Given the growing number of inquiries by professional doll collectors, the Women Art Center of the local NGOs Anjuman-e-Falah-e-Aama has decided to introduce a new service. Now the hand crafted dolls can be sent to the show room in Lahore for an appraisal and any further steps.
The costs for transport and repair are to be born by the collectors. What is more, an Origin Certificate from Cabbies Collectors Club can also be ordered. Details can be obtained through an e-mail inquiry.
Currently, this service is available only for Pakistani and Arabian dolls. Collectors are however welcome to send inquiries to the NGO (firstname.lastname@example.org) regarding other dolls from the Dolls of the World assortment.