Pakistan Flood: Only the Rich Will Be Saved
Aid Agency Protests Minority Discrimination
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ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, SEPT. 2, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Evidence is emerging that several wealthy landowners diverted flood waters through poor villages in order to save their own crops, thereby destroying the homes of countless minorities.
Abdullah Hussain Haroon, Pakistani ambassador to the United Nations, acknowledged that there is evidence that the landowners allowed embankments to burst in the heavy rainfall of the monsoon season, diverting floodwater into poor villages. He called for an investigation into this situation.
A local Church figure, who asked to remain anonymous, told Aid to the Church in Need that the authorities in that region collaborated with the landowners in this scheme.
The source reported that "local government figures in the Sindh province conspired with prominent landowners to bolster the riverbank running through their property and others deemed important, at the expense of other regions, which were left vulnerable to flood waters."
In fact, he added, gravel and other resources were taken from the poor villages in order to shore up the river bank in "priority" areas.
The flood has affected an estimated 20 million people, most of them from poor villages of that region, which has a high concentration of religious minorities: Christians, Hindus and Sikhs.
The source asserted: "It was not just incompetence on the part of the authorities to protect the poorest of the poor from potential floods; it was their deliberate intention that they should suffer if floods were to take place."
He recalled "shock" as he saw the high level of the river, while noting that nearby canals were nearly empty, leading him to suspect that the flood water was being purposely diverted.
The source noted that the common denominator in the regions most affected by the flood is the high concentration of minority groups.
He called for aid to provide drinking water, food, shelter and mosquito nets for the people, stating: "The suffering of the poor is increasing every day.
"We Christians should be helping; we should be playing our part."