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.





Pakistani Mangoes Hit American Shelves




Pakistani Mangoes Hit American Shelves.

Oh, I can attest to the sweet deliciousness of these mangoes, since we get to eat them here most every day, now that it’s the season. Fortunately, they’re much, much cheaper than this article suggests they are in the US.

I dine on them guiltlessly!



Mashrou’ Leila


Okay, I’ve talked about these guys in the past here and there. And now they’re offering their latest EP ‘El Hal Ramancy’ — which is quirky, Lebanese goodness — for free.

On the same page, you can download another couple of free tracks, should you wish. Or click here to start the free EP download right away.

Or… should you, like me, wish to support an original, up and coming band, you can pay and download from iTunes. Support the artists so they can continue making music!

To find out more about them, you can check out their Facebook page here or go to their website through the link over there on the right of this page. They seem like cool guys, just doing what they love and having fun. And their fun sounds good.

‘The Hour’ on BBC, With Dominic West – Review –

‘The Hour’ on BBC, With Dominic West – Review –

Now that I’ve rampaged through all available seasons of the new Dr. Who and gorged and regorged on all iTunes-available episodes of Torchwood, I need a new obsession.

Could The Hour be it?

It could very well be, but I’m open to suggestions.


Government yet to seek UN help | Pakistan | News | Newspaper | Daily | English | Online

Government yet to seek UN help | Pakistan | News | Newspaper | Daily | English | Online.

Reports are streaming in of rather dramatic flood damages in parts of Southern Sindh. Not at all our area of operations, but of course we stand ready to intervene if needed.

The problem is, there’s not much actionable information out there. Yes, we know the situation is bad and is still unfolding. However, who’s already there, who can respond quickly, what can they bring to the table, what are the gaps? We don’t know yet.

Then there’s this article stating that the Government of Pakistan hasn’t yet asked for assistance from the international community. Granted, local officials in the flood-affected areas are screaming for help and are rather specific in what they want. They also claim the government is slow to respond, providing only a fraction of what’s allegedly needed.

Some NGOs have arranged assessment trips and are either already there or on their way, so we’re trying to plug into those networks to get more reliable information. If we go solely on the information coming out of local government officials, we’ll end up duplicating a lot of work being done by others, since there’s not much organization there in the cries for help.

Meanwhile, of equal concern are reports of continued rains to the north of us. Will these rains turn into floods here in our part of the province? That’s unclear so far.

Fortunately, we do have private funds and some assets, which could help us launch a rather quick emergency response. The question is: Where? Head South and help out in an unknown situation or wait to see if something’s going to hit here?

There’s a bit of a wait-and-see attitude, but in an emergency, waiting can cost lives….

The political will for peace in Kashmir – Kashmir: The forgotten conflict – Al Jazeera English

The political will for peace in Kashmir – Kashmir: The forgotten conflict – Al Jazeera English.

After a summer of articles extolling the peace and a return of tourism to the Kashmir Valley, suddenly violence breaks out again. How large, how wide, how destructive, we don’t know yet.

The signs were there for anyone willing to speak to Kashmiris — frustrations were simmering, anger was brewing — but official government lines took precedent over the voice of the people, and so this latest outbreak came as a ‘surprise’, surprisingly.

My interest in Kashmir — already piqued and constant over the past few years — has increased of late. Is it time for another trip to Srinagar?

I think it might be.


So. Here we go again.

Apple has announced that it’s new iCloud service, which will soon be replacing MobileMe, will no longer support iWeb. That means my blog will eventually disappear.

Alas, that blog is now long since dusty and unused, not updated in ages. One would think I no longer had anything to say. Oh, but I do, just not much time in which to write it all down. One might also think that Apple was on to something — why continue hosting blogs people no longer update or use?

Fair point, Mr. Jobs.

But Facebook just isn’t doing it, not allowing enough voice, not enough stretching of the mental legs. Google+ just seems half-baked and not really much of anything really. So, what’s a wandering nomad to do?

Well, why not start a WordPress blog? Just to feel it out, of course.

Let’s see….