Number of the Day: One

Posted on August 10, 2010
Filed Under >Adil Najam, >Owais Mughal, Disasters, Environment
Total Views: 36700


Adil Najam and Owais Mughal

There are many numbers that we can and should be thinking of today. And we will. But there is only one that counts: One.

That ‘one’ is you. And what you can do to make the life of just ‘one’ of the over 6.5 million people affected by the floods in Pakistan that much better.

Of course, that ‘one’ is not just you. It is also me. And all of us. And what we do, or not do, is our choice. This is the moment to make that choice. We will, each of us, make that choice separately. But we will, all of us, reap the fruits of those choices together.

That is the nature of the challenges we face. That is the nature of the responsibilities that confront us.

All the other relevant numbers continue to rise – and will nearly certainly rise further. All except this ‘one’. Here is where those other numbers stand, as of today (see earlier compilation here):

Pakistanis Affected:
(According to the UN this eclipses even in the 2004 Tsunami)

Death Toll:
(Estimate of 1500+ in Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa only)

Total International Aid Pledged:
(Of which only $10-20 million has been delivered thus far)

Cost to Agriculture:
(US$ 1 Billion in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa only)

Agricultural Cropland Already flooded:
1,400,000 acres
(Also 10,000 cows have perished)

Estimated cost of rebuilding roads destroyed:
(Mostly in Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa and Punjab)

Estimated cost of rebuilding power infrastructure and dams:
(This will only worsen the existing energy crisis)

Houses Destroyed:
(In Punjab and Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa)

Boats available for rescue activities:
(According to NMDA numbers, 8 August)

Helicopters available for rescue activities:
(According to NMDA numbers, 8 August)

We have all talked a lot about this flood and the havoc it has wroght. But in all honesty I did not realize the full intensity of this event until I saw this picture below. The fury of the torrent (taken in the Swat area a few days ago) depicts what no words possibly can.

Let us close with one other picture. A picture that reminds us of the power of ‘one’, and of the responsibility of ‘one.’

Some of you may have seen this already. But look again, please. Look at the eyes of this mother. You will no doubt heard the unsaid message and that feeling of ‘be-chaargi’ - of helplessness – that is being felt by just everyone in Pakistan today. The only way to respond to helplessness is to help oneself.  No one in the world will – or should – come to help us, if we do not help ourselves. So, let us please help the flood affectees of Pakistan. let us do whatever we can. Let us be the ‘one.’

35 Comments on “Number of the Day: One”

  1. Brian says:
    August 10th, 2010 12:09 am

    41 helicopters is all they have!!!!!!!!

    And how many helicopters (and drones) is the US using to kill Afghans and Pakistanis !!!

    Of only the US deployed half the resources it uses in killing Pakistanis for saving a few, maybe it will not have to wonder why it is so unpopular around the world!

  2. Haroon says:
    August 10th, 2010 12:12 am

    Actually, the most amazing number there is just how little international assistance is pledged, and how much less than even that is actually coming!

  3. SM says:
    August 10th, 2010 1:33 am

    Looking at the number of houses destroyed, an estimation of 3 Million are homeless now out of total 13.8 million effected. Its a huge huge number as compared to those who become homeless in 2005 earthquake. May Allah have mercy on us. Surely this is the time when we should ask forgiveness for our sins and open our hearts to donate as much as we can for our homeland. Lets celeberate 14th of Aug this year in Saving Pakistan.

  4. Imtiaz says:
    August 10th, 2010 3:49 am

    Those two pictures at the end are both very very powerful ones.

  5. Qausain says:
    August 10th, 2010 3:51 am

    // But there is only one that counts: One. //

    Jee bilkul … 1 Jota !!

    Hum to wasey he madad karain gey jesey pehley earthquake k waqt ke the .. lakin jo log Govt ke kohtaion ke wajah se mar gae hain or jin ke aik nasal aab sari zindagi suffer karey ge un ka hisab kon dey ga??

  6. Amna Zaman says:
    August 10th, 2010 4:05 am

    The estimated cost given from the aid should be utilized in the interest of the citizens. That is the more important thing. We can come out these miseries if we unite.

  7. Aamer Aziz says:
    August 10th, 2010 10:34 am

    I will pay a dollar for every cent Nawaz and Zardari pay from their own pocket. Thats a pledge.

  8. Aamer Aziz says:
    August 10th, 2010 10:36 am

    @Brian – do you know that all the international aid pledged so far, USA is the biggest donor ? We just love to bash USA, not look at anything positive it does.
    Why is international aid missing? the general feeling is that it would be misappropriated by the government and donors know for a fact that nothing would reach the deserving. They have seen it one too many times.

  9. sheeda talli says:
    August 10th, 2010 12:26 pm

    I was surprised to see the amount that was pledged – but not so much after reading these comments about Pakistan and Pakistanis. In this situation, we’ve to help ourselves and motivate people around us. I’m not a religious person but I’m using Ramazan to encourage people to give charity to flood victims and not to any masjid or musalla.
    “Enjoy” these comments and share with others to inspire that this is the time we change our ways.

  10. Darweesh says:
    August 10th, 2010 12:55 pm

    We must donate money but pl send it to private Trusts like Edhee and others .
    Sending money to Govt created funds be eaten up by Zardaars and Mar-Dhaars (looters).

  11. Fahim says:
    August 10th, 2010 1:46 pm

    Yes, self help when govt is missing.
    Since America is in Afghanistan and asking for Pakistan to support what it is doing, it should be donating. On the other hand, its abilities have been revealed in Katrina’s wake and in Haiti. For aid to function you need government on the ground that is at least semi capable. In the case of Katrina state and local government (NO and La being renowned for corruption) were missing in action and Federal Government agency had suffered from loss of experienced personnel due to problem at the leadership level.
    I was told by a friend in Florida days after Katrina hit New Orleans that all 3 levels of govt had failed. He had experience in many Fla hurricane efforts, so he knew what he was talking about. Years later a report said exactly what he told me right after.
    Pakistan needs a federal emergency management agency and each province needs a disaster response plan and drills to keep the program fit for use.
    Pakistan also needs to drudge its rivers. There is silt build up. Pakistanis also need to start rainfall harvesting programs. All these rivers empty into the sea and rains will be fickle in our global warming era.

    Got this in my email today:
    we have no control, public to stand and watch its decay. decedance has set in.
    today nobody in the government talks about getting together in the assembly to put pakistan on two major fronts, relief programs plan and reconstrucion aftrer the relief programs.
    pakistan now has to rebuilt again. the days of Mahajirs are over, the sons and daughters of soil will need to take over. lets see how they fare. so far, they have choosed corruption over reconstruction or building pakistan.
    the disaster management has nothing to offer as they have no programs in place. when you have a department of disaster than you must deliver. there is nothing to deliver. citizen of pakistan are on self help basis. the establishment, bureaucracy has failed us in giving any relief.

  12. Fahim says:
    August 10th, 2010 10:43 pm

    In the UK media:

    Pakistan flood toll rises but international aid fails to flow
    Anger replaces fear as cotton belt attacks its politicians’ ‘lies’
    Zardari returns to flood-stricken Pakistan to face mounting criticism
    President accused of failing to respond to country’s worst-ever natural disaster as rising waters continue to cause devastation

  13. Zumi says:
    August 11th, 2010 5:53 am

    @Aamir Aziz

    Zardari has pleadged Rs. 1 corore from his private wealth and Nawaz has pledged the same.

    Lets see if you follow up or turnb around to be yet another Pakistani liar!

  14. Zubair says:
    August 11th, 2010 7:24 am

    Well said, ATP. We have to be the ONE.
    Thankyou for your leadership and for your humanity.

  15. Ahmed says:
    August 11th, 2010 7:38 am

    Sheeda Talli’s Huffington post link on this thread was an eye opener. So, there is a *lot* of public opposition in the West to providing humanitarian aid for Pakistan.

    In a very twisted way, the US has recently provided billions of dollars of aid for the military. Why not just retarget that money for the floods? What is needed for the flood is just of fraction of what we already get in foreign military aid. Also, retargeting money is not new – money to fight on the western border is often surreptitously retargeted to Kashmir, India, etc. So, the mechanism and precedence exists. Just that retargeting to humanitarian aid would make perfect sense now and no one can publically question it. Am I missing something? Would this work?



  16. Sadia Hussain says:
    August 11th, 2010 9:39 am

    I wonder if one has noted the Taliban spokesperson appeal for rejection of foreign aid as it would compromise over Pakistan’s sovereignty. So now the Taliban have suddenly become the torchbearers of national security and sovereignty. The government must take notice of militant groups resurfacing in the disguise of charity organizations.

  17. Pakistani says:
    August 11th, 2010 10:05 am

    Finally, the international media and world is waking up to this. Thank you ATP for focussing on this story from the beginning, when others were not and educating all of us about how big and important this calamity really is.

  18. Doctus says:
    August 11th, 2010 11:37 am

    Please Take Action:
    I hope our “ones” understand the magnitude of this catastrophe and are actively putting in the the maximum they can.The gravity of the situation can only be matched with our efforts to help and that too needs to be continued for a considerable time to come.

    Allama Iqbal Medical College/ Jinnah Hospital, Lahore has taken an imperative initiative to ensure the best possible temporary health care setups in the areas of need.We have, to date, sent 6 teams (~50 members each) comprising of Professors, Doctors, Nurses, Paramedicals and helping staff.The teams are equipped with emergency and other vital medicines, disposables, food items and mobile water treatment units.
    The next step is sending more medical teams and Hostel Mess staff (Cooks & Misc.staff) to arrange for Sehr & Iftar for 1000 affectees at each camp.
    We, the students and doctors, have been going around door-to-door, to the markets and onto the roads to collect whatever we can.But in order to keep this going, we need more help from more “ones” like you.

    Please Donate with your Zakat, Sadaqats and Donations.

    “Branch Name: Allama Iqbal Medical College Lahore
    Account Title : Flood Relief Fund
    Account Number: 12447900406603
    Swift Code: HABBPKKA”

  19. Arjun says:
    August 11th, 2010 11:39 am

    I hope the much-hailed Ummah steps and leads the way for rest of the world in pledging and delivering aid.

  20. MK says:
    August 11th, 2010 11:48 am

    Thanks for your post. Way too many Pakistanis focusing on the International community and media when they should be focusing on themselves and their own efforts to see their people through this disaster. For Pakistan by Pakistan – that should be the attitude any help beyond that is a bonus.

  21. Arfeen says:
    August 11th, 2010 1:05 pm

    Lets please ignore the pettiness of Arjun’s comments. Some people only feel happiness at other’s misery.

    I have started seeing the same spirit that we saw in the earthquake arising, although slowly. Ultimately, only we ourselves can help us. Thank you for focusing on what WE can do, rather than what others will do for us.

  22. Ashley says:
    August 11th, 2010 8:48 pm

    These numbers are horrendous. I cannot even fathom the scale of this. My condolences and prayers.

  23. readinglord says:
    August 11th, 2010 9:49 pm

    But what about Haajies? Can’t they contribute their Haj-money to the help of flood victims this year? At least that money which some institutions allocate for Haj of their employees can be contributed straightaway to help FVs.

  24. Arjun says:
    August 11th, 2010 10:45 pm

    Arfeen, I wasn’t being petty. I think it is important to point out in a subtle way that most of the aid to Pakistan (or India or any other country) whenever these disasters hit is from the Western countries. And yet, these countries are widely hated in Pakistan and considered enemies out to destroy your country, while the oil-rich Muslim countries who are much celebrated as your Ummah are nowhere to be found on the scene and yet are considered the best friends and well-wishers and family. It is important to point this out so that more Pakistanis turn away from religious make-belief fanaticism that’s destroying themselves and their neighbors.

  25. sikandar is coming says:
    August 12th, 2010 12:15 am

    Where is Saudi Arabia. How much have they sent.
    Where is China – the protector of Pakistan.
    Where is Turkey – How many troops have they sent.
    Where is Egypt – Where is the muslim brotherhood.
    Where is Indonesia.
    Where is Al Quida – Aren’t they going to send Heroine money.

    How come Pakistan has to beg White People for money.

    Why should Pakistan take charity from Christian organisations.
    or the UN.

    How come Zardari has to be in Pakistan if Military runs everything. I thought President was just figure head.
    What have the Prime Minister done. What have the Governors done. Was the Military slow in sending troops.

    So How many now believe in Global Warming. This is
    just the prelude. Do you really this World will continue to
    rescue Pakistan. A country that boost Nuclear bomb cannot
    save the farmers of the country.

  26. pyaasi nadi says:
    August 12th, 2010 12:44 am

    Thirst for Indus water upped flood risk

    Oh look, pakistan mismanagement of its river is
    also to blame.

    “The Indus drains the Himalayan mountain chain and carries vast amounts of sediment. As more water is diverted into irrigation, the river flow has been severely reduced, and can’t now carry its accustomed cargo of sediment downstream. A growing number of levees and man-made channels also trap sediment on its way out to sea.”

    “Antiquated irrigation systems in Pakistan may also have made the problem worse. “Pakistan unfortunately has one of the worst irrigation efficiencies in the world,”

  27. Ammar says:
    August 12th, 2010 4:47 am

    Apart from encouraging the donors the government should also encourage the general public to come and support the nation in these critical times. The masses need to be reaffirmed that their money will be well spent and will not be going down the drain. Corruption is relief operations must not be tolerated. The support of allies will increase if they are sure of transparency in these efforts

  28. Yasir says:
    August 13th, 2010 1:53 am

    Beautiful post. Yes, ultimately we all need to look at ourselves and what we can do. IF we do not rise to the occasion ourselves no one else will.

  29. Lubna says:
    August 13th, 2010 2:26 am

    Dear ATP. Thank you for your focus on this issue. Your resolve and your words give me strength to do whatever little I can in this time of need.

  30. Kruman says:
    August 14th, 2010 3:52 am

    There is only one positive outcome from all this, implement land reforms and hand over land to the haris and mazaras.

  31. Kruman says:
    August 14th, 2010 3:59 am

    Aid alone is not enough to come out of this calamity. In the short run, yes we need aid.

    In the long run, we need to compensate and rehabilitate the rural class who have lost their livestock, possessions and all. Land reforms are the only way to rehabilitate the poor.

    It can usher in an era of progress, if land reforms are coupled with improved agriculture practices and building of more water reservoirs.

  32. Ben says:
    August 14th, 2010 4:48 am

    Prime Minister has appealed the nation tp help flood victims. Nation will certainly not disappoint their brothers and sisters in distress and they are already doing a lot but why does he not ask seasonal vote grabbers to go and help those they claim to represent. Read “Vote-grabbers remain unmoved by the plight of flood survivors…” at

  33. Watan Aziz says:
    August 15th, 2010 7:29 am

    U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has arrived in flood-ravaged Pakistan. He has appealed for USD 450 million.

    And that is from one of the party “owners” of Pakistan. The other three party “owners” are also asked to match the same amounts.

    There is yet one more aspiring party “owner”. His share is unknown only because we do not know yet how much money is stashed away by him.

    After all, it is only fair that the UN chief issues this appeal because this money was stolen from Pakistan by these party “owners” and is rightful money of Pakistani people but which has been kept outside Pakistan.

    Hey, Pakistan is not a poor country, but it’s thieves are exceptionally rich.

    Can this money be recovered and brought back to Pakistan through the help of member (and non-member) nations?

    And that will instill confidence in friends that the money will well spent and not “pocketed” by “fraudsters” who are in power.

    And with that done, Pakistan needs the “grandest” Marshall Plan of about USD 200 Billion over the next 5 years. A fraction of an amount in the big scheme of things.

  34. Ben says:
    August 16th, 2010 1:04 pm
  35. Tahir says:
    August 16th, 2010 3:27 pm

    Both those pictures are very powerful. But even more powerful are the numbers you have here. Especially the number 1.

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