Number of the Day: One

Posted on August 10, 2010
Filed Under >Adil Najam, >Owais Mughal, Disasters, Environment
35 Comments
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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:
13,800,000
(According to the UN this eclipses even in the 2004 Tsunami)

Death Toll:
1650+
(Estimate of 1500+ in Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa only)

Total International Aid Pledged:
US$102,000,000
(Of which only $10-20 million has been delivered thus far)

Cost to Agriculture:
US$1,000,000,000+
(US$ 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:
US$59,000,000
(Mostly in Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa and Punjab)

Estimated cost of rebuilding power infrastructure and dams:
US$29,500,000
(This will only worsen the existing energy crisis)

Houses Destroyed:
650,000
(In Punjab and Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa)

Boats available for rescue activities:
583
(According to NMDA numbers, 8 August)

Helicopters available for rescue activities:
41
(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 responses to “Number of the Day: One”

  1. Tahir says:

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

  2. Watan Aziz says:

    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.

  3. Ben says:

    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 http://fmeducation.wordpress.com/2010/08/14/vote-grabbers-remain-unmoved-by-the-plight-of-14-million-flood-survivors/

  4. Kruman says:

    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.

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