Yes, neglected infrastructure and insensitive leadership is responsible for the catastrophe. The tragedy unfolding in
as a result of the country’s worst floods in 80 years is a subject of discussion everywhere in the world. The impact of this tragedy is far greater than the earthquake of 2005 because that earthquake remained confined to mountainous terrain whereas the rain and flood devastation has visited almost every inch of the country, across the board. While the torrential rains have been caused by natural forces, and rains of this scale are not stranger to the world, the human disaster has been compounded by decades of government neglect and the lack of planning and infrastructure. Media has reported that number of people affected so far is 12 million, with 650,000 homes destroyed over some 132,000 square kilometers. Pakistan
The official death toll is 1,500 and rising. Hundreds of thousands of people are still stranded without shelter or supplies of food and clean water. The flood waters that have already savaged northwestern
are surging down the Pakistan Indus river system towards the country’s south. At least 70 towns and villages have been inundated over the past 48 hours. Half a million people have been evacuated and 11 districts in Sindh are on the danger list. Weather forecasters are predicting further heavy rains, raising the prospect of even more flooding.
Already there is widespread anger over the absence of warnings or preparation and the utter inadequacy of the rescue and relief effort. Scores of news articles report flood victims huddled in makeshift shelters criticizing the government for failing to provide even elementary aid. In the flood-affected areas of
that have already been embroiled in war—such as the Pakistan —the levels of disgust and anger are certain to be much higher. Just over a year ago, the Pakistani military poured more than 20,000 troops into the Swat Valley and neighboring areas in a bid to crush Islamist militias. At least two million people were displaced, with hundreds of thousands forced to shelter in overcrowded and squalid refugee camps. Now many of these people face the same situation again. Swat Valley
The disaster in
is the product of years of neglect. Monsoons are an annual event and floods occur regularly, yet successive governments have failed to develop proper flood warning systems and flood control measures. Infrastructure has not been planned to deal with natural disasters, whether the current flooding or the devastating 2005 earthquake in Pakistan Kashmir. As in the case of Hurricane Katrina in the in 2005, and the oil spill in the US Gulf of Mexico, rational planning is impossible under a social order dominated by private profit and the anarchy of the market. Those worst affected are inevitably the poorest layers of society.
Responsibility for the current flood catastrophe should certainly be sheeted home to the Pakistani government and political establishment. But the impoverished character of countries like
, blames World Socialist Website, is also the product of more than a century of imperialist oppression. The social gulf between rich and poor has been exacerbated over the past three decades by the globalization of production and the transformation of Pakistan into a cheap labor platform. In the wake of the global economic crisis, international finance capital is demanding savage cuts to government spending that will only lead to a further deterioration of social infrastructure. Pakistan
Moreover the partition of
British India in 1947 has placed insuperable barriers before the establishment of a comprehensive flood management system for these rivers that cross the national borders. While the two rivals continue their bitter dispute over control of the , flooding has hit, not only Indus River but now Indian-controlled Pakistan Kashmir, where at least 100 were killed yesterday. This has highlighted the insensitive attitude of the so-called leaders towards the problems which have demonstrated to have potential of turning into human catastrophe.