As the world watches, Pakistan adds to its list of challenges a problem on a scale never seen by the country before; not only must it struggle with its domestic economic and political problems, but Pakistan faces its worst natural disaster in the form of flooding caused by torrential rain. In a country in which over 60% of the people live on $2 a day, the UN estimates that 1600 people have been killed by the flooding and nearly 14 million affected. The numbers continue to climb as the country now faces more rain and water-borne diseases in its refugee communities.
Every day that passes I see and hear more about my country being washed away. Mud brick homes that gave shelter to the deprived are destroyed by a deluge of water. People that spend their entire lives gathering simple possessions and livestock, and selling what little they had to make a living now find everything they ever possessed under water. The little land they owned is now nowhere to be found.
As the heavy rains continue, and people remain trapped throughout the flooded areas, the thought of reconstruction is far from the first priority concern. Despite focusing on short-term rescue, long-term implications remain daunting. The health impacts caused by the flooding are one part of a bigger picture: the threat of water-borne diseases has become reality as the United Nations has confirmed cases of cholera. Most refugees are still being rescued and placed into temporary homes, but as life in refugee camps becomes a harsh reality, survivors’ mental health will certainly be affected by the trauma of displacement and an uncertain future. Other long-term impacts of the flood in Pakistan will slowly be realized and uncovered. In a New York Times article Fazl Maula Zahid, the regional manager of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, discussed long-term food security in Pakistan. Land in northern Pakistan that was once fertile, feeding thousands of people, will become desert like due to the flooding. These are only a few of many problems Pakistan will face in the future.