New Delhi, Aug 27: The worst-ever floods in Balochistan have disconnected it from Pakistan with total disruption of internet and mobile communication. Heavy rains have also washed away all highways, bridges and rail tracks leaving the province cut off from the rest of Pakistan.
Meanwhile, Pakistan has declared an emergency and has appealed to the global community for donations to battle the floods which have broken a 30-year record. The Pakistan government has asked people to stay in homes.
Balochistan has reported a total of 237 deaths with 29,818 houses damaged by the rains and floods according to The Nation. Educational institutions have been closed for the past many days due to the floods.
Pakistan’s flood response has come in for criticism from the Baloch people for being too little. Many have blamed corruption in the Pakistani government and the army for the disastrous humanitarian situation.
Qambar Malik Baloch, General Secretary of the Europe-based Baloch Human Rights Council (BHRC) criticised Pakistan heavily. In an exclusive interview to India Narrative, he said: ‘The government has no understanding and planning to mitigate the situation. Although the government has issued statements concerning floods, you hear about some affected being rescued and relief provided but that too on such a small scale that it is not worth mentioning.’
He added that the role of the government has been confined to providing ‘Emergency Alerts and Floods forecasts’.
Highlighting the incompetence of the government, he said that the Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) is not well equipped or trained to provide proper rescue services. ‘In one such case the local government and the PDMA in Balochistan’s capital city of Quetta could not retrieve two dead bodies from a well. Eventually, two local civilians did the job’.
Qambar adds that Pakistan’s major political parties are busy fighting for power or want to appease the army to retain power while it is the Baloch political parties and student organisations that are reaching out to the flood affected people.
A Pakistan-based Baloch journalist told India Narrative that Pakistan is overwhelmed by the floods. ‘The government is providing relief but the flooded area is very large and it is still flooding. The government doesn’t have enough capacity to help people. It is the local organisations and community-based groups which are doing great work as compared to the government and the Pakistani army’.
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