Flood-Ravaged Pakistan Struggles to Survive

Posted on August 18, 2010

The recent floods in Pakistan have taken a devastating toll on the nation, affecting as much as a quarter of the country. So far, the death rate has climbed to an estimated 2,000 and the overall damage has affected approximately 20 million Pakistanis. Women and children have been the worst affected, as millions await aid and protection. Touring the wreckage last weekend, UN. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called the floods the worst destruction he had ever witnessed.

The flooding, which began in late July, brings suffering to an area already rife with political turmoil. Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari was recently criticized for taking a trip to Europe to meet with leaders in Britain and France. Critics slammed the trip as “insensitive” and called it a “joy ride.” President Zardari most recently decided to forgo any celebration of the 63rd Anniversary of Pakistan’s independence last Saturday, August 14. 

All news to date indicates that the situation in Pakistan is likely to worsen before it improves. A harsh truth to the already high casualty figures is that many more towns and villages, not accessible by communication, will likely have greater losses to report in the weeks ahead. Relief and recovery efforts will certainly remain the highest priority in Pakistan long after the floodwaters recede. As Pakistanis — an especially high percentage of them women and children — face this unprecedented catastrophe it is important to remember the forces of strength and survival that have been produced from that nation. 

Benazir Bhutto, one of history’s most resilient leaders, inspired millions in times of struggle. The nature of such leadership is what rallies a country in times of crisis, and it’s certainly worth remembering such a historical figure now. Slated to run this season on Independent Lens, Filmmaker Duane Baughman's, Bhutto, chronicles the life of the first woman in history to lead a Muslim nation. 


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