The 2005 earthquake was a devastating blow to Pakistan. The rehabilitation was estimated to take many years to come, and the cost of which was estimated in billions of dollars. The response of the international community at the time was over whelming. While the initial extent for us regarding the disaster was limited to Margalla Towers, it was the international community that truly understand the scale of the devastation and reached the areas of Balakot and Bagh.
This time around, however the response has been slow and limited. It doesn’t even come close to what we saw the last time around, and that is understandable. A news item published today in Dawn might be able to put some light on to this issue. The funds and the aid received during the crisis was conveniently diverted to other projects. The amount, estimated to be around 300 billion pounds, was never seen by the victims, and were left to sought their own fate.
This incident occurred during the regime of a military ruler, but thanks to Selective Amnesia that our media seems to be a patient of, no hype has been created of this event. And with the way things run in this country, it is not surprising that it would never come up.
The distrust of the International community is also reflected by the fact that this time around instead of trusting the Government with the Relief they are taking it upon themselves to come and monitor the aid work. David Toole, UNICEF’s regional director for South Asia will be coming to Pakistan for a week-long official visit to monitor the relief work himself.
The steps that the Government has taken so far to minimize this condition are commendable, no doubt. The setting of a Panel that would monitor the relief work is the right step towards transperancy that is much needed at the moment. The only hope is that the media would finally see the right from the wrong, and back off a bit!