Monday, October 25, 2010

Seven million without shelter months after Pakistan floods

By Sampath Perera , wsws.org, October 23, 2010

Seven of the 21 million Pakistanis affected by this summer’s floods are still without shelter, the United Nation’s Pakistan Office reported this week. And an estimated 14 million continue to need urgent humanitarian assistance.

These figures are an indictment of the Pakistan ruling elite’s incompetently organized and poorly funded flood relief effort.

They also are an indictment of the imperialist powers. Under conditions where Pakistan has faced what the UN has repeatedly described as the world’s largest humanitarian crisis in decades, the agency has repeatedly had to plead for the “international community” to come to assist Pakistan.

The western-dominated IMF and World Bank have tied flood aid to their demand for Pakistan to implement market reforms. Washington, meanwhile, has intensified its pressure on Pakistan to expand its counter-insurgency war against Taliban-aligned groups in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas.

Pakistan’s floods began with heavy rains in the country’s north-east in late July and continued as the water travelled the length of the Indus Valley over the next two months. More people were displaced in Sindh, the country’s southern-most province, than anywhere else, although authorities had weeks of warning about the impending floods. The vast majority of those now lacking shelter are from Sindh.

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