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We can’t help Balochistan

By Shehzad Baloch

It has been noted that whenever it comes to Balochistan, international donors and aid organisations are not allowed to help the suffering individuals. Balochistan has suffered a prolonged drought, one that left a great impact on its economy, in the last decade. However, international organisations or UN teams have never been requested to come forward and help the people. The victims, belonging to the flood affected areas of Makran, are still facing hardships in readjusting to life.

It would have been great if the government was capable of dealing with the situation but, given the experiences of past six decades, it would be appropriate to conclude that it’s not. International humanitarian bodies should be requested to come forward and help the Baloch people at this difficult juncture.

The need for such help is highlighted all the more by the fact that there were only three doctors and a few more people at the hospital, in Awaran, to attend to the thousands of victims of the September 24 earthquake. There were no basic facilities available and the injured were shifted to either Khuzdar, nearby districts or all the way to Karachi. That was just the beginning. This disaster needs an immediate and effective response.

Journalists from the affected area have reported that so far, the emergency work being done is not adequate and many areas are still awaiting help. Conflicting figures about the death toll are going around. Sitting in comfort and taking an aerial survey is very easy. This has become a norm in all matters relating to Balochistan and people continue to say that “We can deal with the situation on our own, in order to show that Pakistan is not so weak, so as to not be able to deal with such a small problem”.

The government does not provide electricity, gas or other facilities to the remote areas, saying that the population is scarce and scattered over a vast landmass, which increases the costs incurred. The province is half the size of Pakistan but its infrastructure is shoddy, with many towns inaccessible via vehicles. There are a few hospitals but they have no doctors and there are schools but they have no teachers. But people continue to hear the slogan “We can deal with the situation” whenever it comes to Balochistan.