BBC News – Pakistan rains cause severe flooding


BBC News – Pakistan rains cause severe flooding.

This is where we’re trying to start emergency flood relief interventions. So far, the central government isn’t allowing international NGOs to work there, though local government officials are screaming for help.

We’ve already sent one rapid assessment team down there with another technical team to follow tomorrow afternoon. They’ll be trying to get official government invitation letters and finding appropriate sites to set up water filtration plants and establish mobile health services.

Wish us luck!




Flickr: Michal Przedlacki’s Photostream

Michal Przedlacki

via Flickr: Michal Przedlacki’s Photostream.

Michal’s a good friend of mine from our Afghanistan days — a dedicated and passionate development worker, who inspires and motivates, and who gets things done.

And, it turns out, he’s also an excellent photographer.

Here’s a link to his Flickr photostream, which has some amazing pictures from his travels and work around the world. I’m linking here to his Afghanistan pictures, but there’s a whole host of others from Burma, Chechnya, the Somali Region of Ethiopia and more.

A great eye from a remarkable person.



A dangerous misreading of the Boston Tea Party from rightwing anarchists | Timothy Snyder for the New York Review of Books blog | Comment is free |



A dangerous misreading of the Boston Tea Party from rightwing anarchists | Timothy Snyder for the New York Review of Books blog | Comment is free |

This is a fine distillation of my own thoughts on the matter. We’re ideologizing ourselves into irrelevancy, insolvency and facelessness. By claiming to want to return to some non-existent Golden Age, discarding facts, creating others out of whole cloth, we erode the ground beneath our feet and give up what truly did make us somewhat special.

Though not always, perhaps even rarely, getting it right, we did strive for a more perfect union, strove to move forward in brash waves of creativity, often times reckless naiveté, and we relished our mongrel nature of the American mixed salad — out of many, one and the whole being much more than the sum of its parts.

But now we strike out in mindless rage, aware that something’s ‘not right’, we’re not on the right path, but allow ourselves to be misled, blinders pulled down tight and our anger directed away from those who oppress, who destroy our way of life, our creativity, our identities, our generosity of spirit — turning us into callous, callow, recalcitrant children.

We claim religious fidelity, yet we forget the exhortation to give ‘unto the least of these’. We claim our fervent desire for freedom, wrapped in ketchup-stained, too tight flag t-shirts, yet would deny that freedom to any and all perceived to be not like ‘us’. We claim we are peaceful and tolerant, yet wage wars across the globe and are quick to mob mentality at the faintest dog whistle.

We say we want our country back, but don’t even remember who we once were, nor realize who we have become — who we are.


What is needed is a truly patriotic position, one that would explain to voters, whatever their sympathies, that there is no American nation without an American middle class, and no American middle class without an American government that provides the essential services that allow people to move up in a globalised world. Whatever one thinks of the Tea Party’s Orwellian references to our revolutionary heritage, there’s no danger of a return to an 18th century: when Ohio did not even exist, and the midwestern economy depended on the Indian flint arrowheads that today pass beneath the blades of the massive high-tech combines. The real danger is that we will move briskly forward to national non-existence, misunderstanding the plainest lessons of our own past along the way. By the time the costs of rightwing anarchism reach the truly privileged, it will be far too late for everyone else. If we don’t find a way to adapt own national thinking to global reality before then, all we can look forward to is leaving a trace: like fossils, or arrowheads, or the mammoth tusk that hangs on my grandmother’s porch.”

Associated Press Of Pakistan ( Pakistan’s Premier NEWS Agency ) – No aid needed from world donors for flood victims in Sindh: NDMA

Let’s hope they’re not wrong. Again.

Associated Press Of Pakistan ( Pakistan’s Premier NEWS Agency ) – No aid needed from world donors for flood victims in Sindh: NDMA.

No aid needed from world donors for flood victims in Sindh: NDMA PDF Print E-mail
ISLAMABAD, Aug 20 (APP): Chairman,National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) Zafar Qadir on Saturday said that the Authority would not be looking for any international assistance for the current floods which hit Sindh province. NDMA was efficiently managing the relief work and facing no difficulties in its operations, he told APP.
The Authority has distributed relief items including 12,700 tents, three water purification plants and 23,000 family ration packs, to the flood-affected people in Sindh.  The relief goods have been disbursed in the inundated districts of Badin, Tando Muhammad Khan and Mirpur Khas besides the badly damaged Mithi town of Tharparker district, he said. 

Dr. Zafar Iqbal Qadir who visited the affected areas to take stock of the situation and coordinated with the provincial authorities for organizing effective and timely relief operations, said, NDMA’s teams were actively engaged in the flood relief and rescue operation and they were capable enough to tackle the current flood aftermath.

“In case we need any assistance from the donors or international non-governmental bodies we will engage the donors in the relief work,” he added.
He said that if international non-governmental bodies’ wants to go on the flood affected areas but before going for any relief operation they have to get an approval from NDMA.
“We want to have a complete check and balance on international non-governmental bodies before clearing them for any relief work,” said the chairman of NDMA.
Zafar Qadir added that the current step was taken after looking the history of international non-governmental bodies because they collect thousands of dollars in Genva and New York for the flood affected population hardly spends it on the effected people.
“The money goes more in salaries and other things,” he remarked.         
He informed that around 60 percent of cotton crops were damaged in the flood affected areas.
“Crops of sugar-cane were not damaged in flood hit areas because the height of the sugar-cane is three feet above the flood water level,” said the chairman.
He said that all armed forces were managing the rescue part of flood relief operations.
Qadir, who was currently in Badin, added that 31 lives were lost because of the current floods as the roofs of their houses were collapsed after massive rains.
It may be mentioned that the Sindh province has been hit by floods again this year which has undated several villages and around six districts leaving several thousand people homeless.

The Weeknd


The Weeknd.

Abel Tesfaye, obviously of Eritrean or Ethiopian extraction, though a Canadian, is apparently a hot new thing coming up out of the music cloud that is Drake. He goes by the name The Weeknd when putting out music and has been bubbling away underground for a while, say the music blogs, putting out free ‘mix tapes’ to build a following.

And it seems to be working. This is chilled, laid back, interesting stuff. And it’s free to download. What could be better?

Definitely worth the download time and certainly worth the listening time if you like R&B with a bit of an edge — smooth though the sound may be.



BBC News – Violence escalates as Karachi death toll rises to 39

BBC News – Violence escalates as Karachi death toll rises to 39.

Meanwhile, the violence continues in Karachi. Again, these are political games being played out with ordinary people used as the pawns. Business and politics combine into a nasty brew, fighting to determine who’ll come out on top, who’ll call the shots.

Unfortunately, the shots are hitting everyday people. And bodies are apparently piling up in jute bags left on the streets, showing all too many signs of torture.

It’s a beastly game being played out on the streets of Karachi.



BBC News – Pakistan rains cause severe flooding




Flooding once again in Southern Pakistan


BBC News – Pakistan rains cause severe flooding.

Once again, floods ravage parts of southern Pakistan — here in Sindh province. Once again, the response is low and slow with the government not yet permitting or requesting international aid agencies to get involved, though some have slipped down and are offering relief.

We’ll be sending a small team down tomorrow (Saturday) to see the situation and see if the situation is indeed well in hand as the government suggests it is or if more help is needed as local officials and NGOs suggest it is.

The danger, though, is that everyone goes down to carry out assessments, while nothing gets done, and the people being ‘assessed’ grow quickly frustrated and angry. Enough looking and asking questions, please! Get to the part where you actually start helping us!

We tried to rely on information coming from others to help inform whether or not we should get involved, but reliable information just isn’t coming out. That’s why we’re sending our little team down.

Fortunately, our part of northern Sindh — so badly devastated by floods this time last year — hasn’t been affected. We’ve had one rain in the past 2-3 months, over and done with after a couple of hours, leaving big puddles, but not much more than that. So far, it seems unlikely that we’ll face any flooding this year, which is a Very Good Thing. But now we’ll soon see if we should relocate down south.

Meanwhile, nothing — nothing! — is being done to try help Sindhis build up infrastructure and social coping mechanisms to reduce the impact of inevitable future catastrophes. When disaster hits, assistance slowly arrives — not enough and not nearly coordinated enough. But what’s really needed is development and long-term improvements to reduce the number and scope of disasters and to build up community level coping strategies, so that people can better respond themselves while waiting for outside help.

Ah, but Sindh just isn’t all that sexy for the donors or, it seems, for the government. At least not for long-term development. As a political playground, sure, but not for anything that really counts. And that’s quite tragic. So much needs to be done here and so much can be done here. But no one, it seems, is willing to make those investments, seeming to prefer to wait for the next disaster.