Current Situation in Balochistan

November 6, 2008 by  


By Mahvish Akhtar, MMNS Pakistan Correspondent

2008-10-29T161628Z_01_ISL35_RTRMDNP_3_PAKISTAN-QUAKE

Survivors of an earthquake sit near their collapsed houses in Ziarat, one of the main tourist spots in Baluchistan, October 29, 2008. About 175 people were killed when the powerful earthquake hit the southwestern Pakistani province of Baluchistan on Wednesday, flattening about 1,500 mud-walled homes and triggering landslides, officials said.    

REUTERS/Athar Hussain

It has been many days since the earthquake hit areas of Balochistan. The situation over there seems to be worse by day. Winter has hit full on and people who have lost their homes have lost even ways of keeping themselves warm. Even though rescue workers and NGO’s claim that they have collected hundreds and thousands of dollars and have sent goods to the effected areas the victims tell a different story. Every day we get images of several children sleeping under one blanket in sub zero weather. We hear about people who have not eaten in days because there is no aid coming.

There are camps and relief efforts under way in that area but the people claim that those are not enough to provide for everyone. Also, some villages have been reported as not getting any aid because they are far and small. Some victims have claimed that their village or areas is not even on the radar of the aid workers so they have to travel to nearby villages to get some kind of help.

To top it all off the constant after shocks have the people scared and unable to move on from the catastrophe. People refuse to go into homes that have been left standing because of the fear of an after shock. These conditions have made it difficult for the weak and the young to survive. Many more children who had originally survived the earthquake have died and many are seriously ill not being able to handle the cold and lack of food and water.

Jamaat-e-Islami’s Alkhidmat claims that they have sent aids worth $25 million to the areas in need. MQM’s Khidmat-e-Khalq has claimed that they have gathered and dispatched goods for about $0.28 million. PML-N says that they have gathered material worth $2.2 million to send to Balochistan. It is important to note that all of these organizations have gathered the donations from the public and these organizations are merely the portal through which the aid from people of Pakistan gets to the people of Balochistan. On their own people are doing everything that they can to help out. Many organizations have set up camps in the areas of Balochistan and have started relief work but all of this does not seem to be enough.

According to reports hundreds have died and more continue to die because of the severe weather and the lack of food, shelter and medication.

However, the question here is, is our government and other governments doing enough. Is the money and good reaching the right place at the time?

The people in need of relief are now starting to stage protests and are picketing in different places in order to have their needs met and get some relief from this horrible situation.

The government seems to have a different picture. The government officials say that not as many people have been affected and that relief has been provided to most of them. They also say that reconstruction efforts are already under way and things will be looking up very soon. They say that some villages that are claiming that thousands of people are homeless, only 20 or so houses were destroyed and things are not as bad it they seem or the media makes things out to be.

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