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‘No one came here to help’: Pakistan’s massive floods reveal the cost of global apathy

It is easy to forget the enormity of Pakistan’s loss.

As we travel by boat through the devastated Dadu District in Sindh Province I am unable to grasp what lies below the water. We soon learn the terrible stories of a lost community.

All submerged: Crops, homes and livelihoods.

Kacha is usually dry. It can reach 20 feet in some areas.

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The roof of a school can be seen just above the surface. It is right next to it that a mosque is completely submerged.

16,000 schools were destroyed or damaged in Sindh alone. For months, life will be disrupted. It’s only going to get worse.

We can see in the distance a group young boys hurrying to higher ground, huddled on a crumbling mound of mud. They call us to shore, hiding behind a crumbling wall is Jan Mohammad.

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Many have lost their homes and gathered what little land they have. They have packed their suitcases hoping. They have been stuck for three weeks without clean water or food.

Image Photo: AP

Lal Khatoon appears as the village matriarch. She is a strong, passionate presence among a group weary-looking people.

“Thank goodness my children got here. They now have stomach and fever problems.

She would like to show me her home, but it is impossible to see because it’s underwater.

Image Photo: AP

This village is home to around 100 people, many of whom are children. Waterborne diseases are on the rise.

A mother shows me her son who is crying hard.

His little body is covered with white spots. She says it’s because of the floodwater.

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Malala Yousafzai, an activist, is featured in the appeal to raise funds for flood victims.

Lal Khatoon’s grandson, aged three months, is also having trouble – he has high fever.

The conditions are difficult and the goats pick from the food scraps left behind by children.

I see a medicine container, but it is surrounded by flies. The children look very thin.

There are no signs that aid trucks or planes have dropped supplies here. The villagers are worried that if aid trucks leave, there will be no food or shelter elsewhere.

It’s still a risk to stay put. In the days ahead, more floodwater from the North is expected to flow here. Some homes may not survive.

This community received help during the 2010 floods. This time, not so.

Pakistan is a climate hotspot. It is indeed a victim to its geography. Yes, it is a victim of its geography.

It also has a remarkablely low carbon footprint. It is now a victim to global apathy and man-made disasters.

A heated debate should focus on who is responsible for the costs of disasters such as this that hammer those most vulnerable, and how can they be prevented. It isn’t.

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