Pakistan floods continue devastation

Pakistan floods 2010Two weeks into the crisis, slow-moving floods continue to devastate vast swaths of Pakistan.  Yet the floods – which already haveclaimed some 1,500 lives – has failed to yield the global aid response of previous natural disasters such as Hurricane Katrina.  International relations Professor Adil Najam, a Pakistani who is director of the Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer Range Future, warns in an International Herald Tribune opinion piece and a WBUR interview that officials in Pakistan should heed the lessons of history – Cyclone Bhola in 1970 was the tipping point that led to the break-up of the country and the creation of the nation of Bangladesh.

“There is a reason why disasters require national solidarity. Without it, they can become even more disastrous. Deeply buried fissures in the social fabric can burst forth in volcanic anger. As we look around at the political, policy and citizen response to the current floods, one sees too many who wish to turn disaster into a political opportunity. Those who do would be well advised to remember Bhola.”

Contact Adil Najam, 617-353-4002,

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