Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Crisis (mis)management

Now that the flood water has washed away half of Pakistan’s central belt and has reached the southern provinces of Sind and Balochistan, more rains have been forecast by the Met Department. That means more flood water would start travelling once again from the north to south – causing yet another wave of destruction and devastation. Already, the flood affectees are having the worst time of their lives, with all their belongings and most of the livestock washed away by the flash floods, leaving behind nothing but some remnants of their houses, are facing great difficulties even to sustain themselves on daily basis. There is shortage of food, tents and medicines. The water borne diseases are wide spread and already a number of children and women have died of gastro and related diseases.

Despite the concern and efforts by everyone, less by the government and more by the NGOs and philanthropists, the people at large have yet to get the aid meant for them. There seems to be utter chaos and confusion among the distribution of relief goods. Although a large number of relief goods are collected by many leading NGOs and sent to the flood affected areas on daily basis, these are not reaching the people.

The reason is mismanagement – rather utter mismanagement. There is no central body to channel the aid and relief goods. The NGOs and others are sending truck loads to places they think it required. SO the end result is that commodity A goes to a place where commodity B should have gone, and commodity C gees to a place which is already in abundance of the same goods.

At times like this, there must be some body who should immediately asses the damage and requirement of relief good and aid, and it is through this body that all aid and relief effort flow outward rather than everyone taking the relief operation on its own. And for this very reason, people are seen lamenting when interviewed by the TV channels that they have got nothing so far. Although in such times, every victim wants more and more, but at least what is bare minimum should reach everyone.

But no such arrangements are in sight so far even after three weeks of floods and rains. If such in-attitude on the part of the government functionaries continues, I am afraid the woes of the victims are going to increase and even their move back to nowhere would make matters worse with no materials at hand to rebuild, rather construct their houses from the scratch.

There is a need to formulate a rehabilitation strategy as any time wasted would mean dissipation of the aid and the relief goods. And in the end no one will get even bare minimum to start afresh.