Fazle Aqbar, 50, says the government has not provided so much “as a bottle of water” to his flood-ravaged area in Nowshera, Pakistan.
As Pakistan's government responded to the desperate needs created by flooding caused by the the worst monsoon rains in decades, its efforts were coming up short in the eyes of many citizens, reinforcing the view of many citizens of official incompetence.
NPR's Julie McCarthy traveled to the particularly hard hit Nowshera district in northwest Pakistan to report on the situation there for All Things Considered.
An excerpt from her report:
Fazle Aqbar, his hair and clothes caked in mud, leads me down railroad tracks to where his house used to be, beside the Kabul River. The water came suddenly just before breakfast says this father of eight. And before long, he says, it was five feet deep.
We’re looking at your house and we can that rooms and wall have been pushed over. There’s nothing but piles of bricks covered with mud and straw. There’s really nothing left of your house.
“The whole house is destroyed,” says Aqbar. His meager belongings are piled high on a small donkey cart. I ask if any officials had been by to survey the damage – the crowd that has gathered on the train tracks behind us answers emphatically —
“We haven’t seen even a single bottle of water,” Aqbar says as his neighbors condemn the government’s sluggish response.
In this strategic part of Pakistan, this is not the first time governance has critically failed at a critical time.
A few years ago, disillusionment with the government helped the Taliban insurgency laid down roots not far from here in the Swat Valley. The flooding has touched a similar nerve.
“They are all thieves,” 28 year old Hafeez Rehman says of the government. “They should quit.”