The year 2007 is called the ‘Visit Pakistan Year’. Nature, however, seems to be against us as rainstorms and floods have hit most parts of the country leaving thousands homeless and in desperate need of assistance. The Lal Masjid issue has overshadowed the devastation in the areas and the nation sits glued to their televisions regarding the crisis. The United Nations has deployed a five member assistance team to assess the situation in the flood hit areas, according to John Homes, the UN Emergency Relief Coordinator. The greatest danger lies in the growing probability of an epidemic outbreak. According to sources, the top priority goods in need in the areas include tents, blankets and emergency medical kits but above all of water purification tablets. These tablets are known as ‘Puritabs’ are available at most local chemists. Besides these medicines, according to the Daily Times, more than forty victims of snake bites have been reported in Baluchistan, and the government is also making arrangements for anti-venom vials for the areas.
The army has deployed more than 15,000 troops for the affected areas. International aid is also on its way as the relief commission continues to assess the extent of the disaster. Average citizens of the country in safe areas need to step up and help in whatever manner they can. The magnitude of the disaster is not yet getting through to the peoples of major cities who continue to remain ignorant of the issue and go on with their daily activities.
The irony of the matter lies in that ‘Visit Pakistan Year’ is not for tourists alone but international relief teams as well as philanthropic citizens across the country trying to make a difference.