Saturday, August 21, 2010

Indus Saga: Modern Indus civilization devastated by floods By Shamim-ur-Rahman.

The fury of the raging Indus , one of the mightiest rivers on planet Earth has uprooted almost everything from its foundations, swept away many to eternal abode , and has made millions shelter less and refugees in their own country which is unable to deal with this one of the greatest human tragedy of modern times. The UN Secretary General has described it much greater a tragedy than Tsunami and the 2005 earthquake in Pakistan and Haiti’s tragedy. Water is everywhere with hardly any space to bury the dead. Those who survived the suddenness of the fury of Hydra were now suffering from water-borne diseases. Scores are losing the battle for survival every day. A large number of people, especially children, were suffering from diarrhea, skin diseases, and above all the trauma of losing everything including the family moorings.



Courtesy: New Satellite images of Pakistan flood, before and after photos, massive destruction Wednesday, August 11, 2010 - 15:38

Note: Video prepared by Mr.Shamim-ur-Rahman's daughter Ayesha Rehman.

Roads, bridges, railway track, homes and other public utilities have been devastated while millions of acres of agriculture land has been swallowed by the mighty Indus. Crops that would have fetched billions of rupees have been destroyed and the farmers do not have the seeds to grow the next crop when the water recedes. There is hardly anything left for the grazing of livestock which has died in thousands. While the flood water will eventually recede and mingle with the sea water, its aftermath is more horrifying. While Pakistan’s resources are very meager and stretched due to its frontline role in the global war on terrorism, it has become global community’s responsibility for the survival of this nuclearised torch bearer of the ancient Indus valley civilization that has seen many ups and downs.

If the world community failed or slackened in mobilizing sufficient funds and plans on fast track basis, it might be providing space to extremists and ideologically militants backing many non-state actors to overthrow the democratic dispensation that can only survive if it can deliver the bread and butter needs of the people, provide them shelter, education and health care. In the past the decline of the Indus civilization has been attributed to changes in the courses of Indus and Ravi, changing pattern of monsoon, as is the case of climate change at the moment.

If no swift and serious action plan is devised and implemented, the natural calamity might cause erosion of a vibrant democratic polity in the region. The real challenge therefore is to determine the inner ailment of the successor of Indus civilization. While the government here is making all sorts of efforts to overcome the tragedy and resettle the uprooted people, the international community must understand that if it did not allow Pakistan to rebuild infrastructure and provide basic amenities at cheaper cost for sometimes, such as gas, electricity, gas, petrol and fertilizer, it will be doing a great disservice to the humanity. In that case democracy will lose and extremism will become a dominant force. The rise of extremism in Pakistan is linked to high cost of input that has made its industries non-competitive, rendered millions jobless while the government is unable to address their bread and butter issues due to lack of resources, making the country heavily dependent on the World Bank and IMF salvage baskets. Pakistanis are determined to change this situation as quickly as possible by rebuilding their country and protect it from extremists and jingoist elements that have become a serious threat to the international community. Ends.

Mr. Shamim-ur-Rahman is a Senior Correspondent with Daily Dawn - Pakistan.


Floodwaters continued rushing down the Indus River on August 10, 2010. High waters had traveled more than 1,000 kilometers (600 miles), from the northern reaches of the country to Pakistan’s breadbasket in Punjab Province, and on to Sindh Province. In Sindh, two million people had already evacuated. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite captured these images on August 10, 2010 (top), and almost exactly one year earlier, August 11, 2009 (bottom). The images show the lower Indus River, at the boundary of Punjab and Sindh Provinces. Both images use a combination of infrared and visible light to increase the contrast between water and land. Water appears in varying shades of blue. Vegetation is green, and bare ground is pinkish brown. Clouds range in color from pale blue-green to bright turquoise. In 2009, the Indus appears as a thin river—a braided stream north of Sukkur (where a barrage affects water flow), and a very skinny meandering waterway south of that city. In 2010, the river has completely filled the river valley, merging the braided streams north of Sukkur, and pushing water over riverbanks in places. Northwest of the river valley, around the city of Sibi, standing water is evident on what appears to be normally arid ground. Pools of water also appear due east of Sibi, on the other side of the river. On August 10, 2010, the Indus River is less swollen south of Sukkur than it is north of the city, but even compared to an image acquired on August 8, water levels downstream from Sukkur appear higher. Early in the day on August 9, the recorded water flow through Sukkur Barrage was up to 1.4 million cubic feet per second (cusecs). The barrage is only designed to withstand a maximum of 900,000 cusecs. United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs stated that the scale of destruction from Pakistan’s monsoon flooding in July and August of 2010 surpassed the devastation from the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, the 2005 northern Pakistan earthquake, and the 2010 Haiti earthquake combined. Courtesy: New Satellite images of Pakistan flood, before and after photos, massive destruction Wednesday, August 11, 2010 - 15:38

Not Included in the Original Article by Mr.Shamim-ur-Rahman. Following are the areas in Sindh Province, Pakistan which have been badly hit by flood. [Courtesy: Pakistan Meteorological Department]


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