Thursday, October 13, 2005
Rise to the occassion!
The violent shakings of the tremblor are still fresh in their minds. On the fifth day of the Quake, after-shocks continue to rock the South Asian region. Relief is steady, pouring in from different parts of the globe. Local populations have heroically risen to the occassion. In both India and Pakistan, armed forces have come to the fore and are at the centre of rescue work. Needless to say, army is perhaps the last functioning institution in a land, where every other structure seems to have come crashing down.
The upshot of Nature's saturday morning fury has been overwhelming. People have been touched by the unprecedented scale of the disaster. Humanitarian assistance like food, warm clothing, water, blankets, tarapaulin sheets, tents and sheer goodwill is being hurried to ground zero. Gladdening to see aid workers and rescuers outstretching in their collective efforts to give succor to the victims. The British and the Americans are working with the Koreans and Iranians in a zone where nationalities have ceased to exist, if only temporarily. Indian troops have crossed over to Pakisan-administered Kashmir and helped their Pakistan counterparts.
Journalists have done some exemplary work. Leise Ducet of BBC, Betty Anderson of CNN and countless others reported non-stop to bring the plight and the miseries of people to world-attention. Major TV channels and world newspapers like the Guardian, NY times among others pulled all stops to give extensive coverage to the event. The tears and pain were zoomed right into the board rooms and drawing rooms of us all. We owe to the media to sensitise us about the plight of ours brothers and sisters. For once my profession makes me feel proud.
However, the key to all the good work being done is proper co-ordination. Pakistan and Kashmir need a disciplined, well co-ordinated and effective aid effort. Many a times, large scale aid efforts by NGO's, government and foriegn charities, coupled with volunteers rushing to help ends up at the same place. We must aviod bumping across each other for this noble cause. Aid must reach all those who need it in all the places. That is where co-ordination is the key.
The UN said Wednesday that the rescue and relief operations in Pakistan following the earthquake is beyond the means of any government. That is little respite for the authorities. The governments of Pakistan and Kashmir must get their act right. Relief has to be routed through proper channels and in a syncronised fashion. Distribution has to be even and orderly. Army can play an instrumental role here. Prez Musharaf in a televised address last night said that pointsmen have been appointed and relief will be co-ordinated. Better late than never.
Every effort at any level is welcome, as long as it brushes a tear away and saves a precious life.