Food for thought…
“There is a triple threat unfolding as this crisis widens and deepens. People have lost seeds, crops and their incomes leaving them vulnerable to hunger, homelessness and desperation – the situation is extremely critical. We urgently need continued and strengthened commitment to the people of Pakistan in this time of crisis.” says Josette Sheeran, Executive Director of World Food Programme.
She accompanies Anthony Lake, Executive Director of UNICEF to see first hand the scale of the current needs in Pakistan.
Millions of hectares of farmland lay inundated as far as the eye can see. Just overnight, the lush green fields turn into stinky swamps. They transform into breeding grounds for mosquitoes causing malaria and dengue, and into culture-medium for Cholera, Typhoid and Hepatitis.Who knew that it was not just the droughts that bring thirst and hunger?
We had presumed that rampant corruption, frequent suicide bombs, lawlessness and sky rocketing inflation had already seen its zenith prior to these killer monsoons. Who knew this was just the beginning of the misery?
Children and infants under five are the most vulnerable and first to be affected in any disaster, followed by pregnant and nursing mothers. The National Nutritional Survey statistics for Malnutrition rates (general) and Stunting rates (in children) were already alarmingly high at 13% and 36.8% respectively. Where will these statistics reach now, is nobody’s guess.
The UNICEF and WFP with numerous other local and foreign organisations have come forth to feed the hungry through energy dense and vitamin fortified Ready to Use Supplement Food (RUSF). The fliers with instructions are handed out but to many of our unlettered women they appear to be Greek and Latin. Only if these women could read the manuals to know that they are to be consumed several times a day and not all at once to get the optimum benefit.
The Chief Executives of these phantom organisations roam around fearlessly not as trekkers but as saviours to the millions, while our own local Chief Executives stay within their fortresses saving their skins. But they do speak up occasionally. It is we the feeble minded who do not get the spirit of their lip service.
When the PM talks of NGOs consuming 50% of the aid—he said it in good will. Messed up that our psyches are, we deliberately twisted his words. If the aid would go to one of his likes, even the rest 50% would also vanish into thin air. Our myopic eyes missed this hint in his wink and the naughty smile, when he uttered these golden words. Poor him.
The detective minds amongst us can even attempt to uncover a hidden American agenda behind these floods. No, I am not joking. We did so during the earthquake and some of us suspected it in tsunami too .
And it is certainly not a divine punishment either. Allah does not punish the innocent when the culprits sail scot free.
This is the blessed month of Ramadan. We fast to learn self restraint and to feel for the less fortunate among us. How can we devour table full Iftars when 20 million of our compatriots go hungry, homeless and desperate.
Ramadan also reminds us of the importance of a collective responsibility as mankind. It is time to think collectively as a nation and as humanity at large. Ramadan is a month of alms giving too. Allah specifies the minimum that we are obliged to pay to the needy. He does not prescribe an upper limit.
Let us open our hearts and minds.
Let us have a guilt free Ramadan this year.
Close your eyes and think….
31 August 201