Foreign Mining Companies Ejected from Reko Diq

Reko Diq (Credit: crisisbalochistan.jpg)

Pakistan is endowed with enormous natural resources and minerals. If explored and utilized properly, Pakistan can become a self-reliant country and get rid of dependency syndrome. Weak economy, technical resource constraints coupled with flawed decisions of the inept governments have brought the country to the present impasse. Instead of relying on our own talent, they provided opportunities to the foreign investors to drain out our resources.

According to independent experts, in Balochistan two Mega Projects i.e. Saindak and Reko Diq have more potential than the combined energy resources of Saudi Arabia and Iran. Reko Diq Copper/Gold Project has an estimated 12.3 million tons of world class copper and 20.9 million ounces of gold worth around $ 125 billion US dollars.

Reko Diq (Credit:

The other day, National Assembly Standing Committee on Science and Technology asked the federal and provincial governments to provide the allocated funds to Thar Coal gasification project to speed up work on the power generation project. The chairman of the committee Dr Abdul Kadir Khanzada said that any delay in Thar Coal and gasification trial and pilot projects will further delay the addition of much needed electricity to country’s economy and industrial sector. The Sindh Coal Authority, project coordinator Engro, Oracle Coalfield UK, PCSIR and coal gasification project also presented the progress of their projects.

Now about Reko Diq project, which has been making headlines for the last one year. This project is being developed by Tethyan Copper Company Limited (joint venture between two mining giants ie Antofagasta of Chili and Barrick Gold of Canada), to produce 0.45 million tons of copper/gold concentrates every year. Terms agreed upon indicated that Pakistan Government has been deceived by these companies.

Saindak copper and gold mine (Credit:

It appears that Balochistan government and federal government are maintaining confidentiality with regard to these projects, which means that there is something fishy about the whole matter. The project has probably been contracted for an estimated value of US $ 25 billion, while actual value of the material, which will be extracted, is about US $ 125 billion. The above mentioned companies plan to take all the ore abroad without processing it locally, as it contains rich contents of copper and gold. For this purpose, these companies intend to develop an exclusive small seaport for shipping the extracted ore (commercial jetty near Gwadar Port about 30 miles towards Karachi).

Dr Samar Mubarakmand has been appearing on TV channels frequently to remind those at the helm that everything should be transparent, and Pakistan should not be robbed of its national wealth by the foreigners with the collusion of the corrupt government functionaries.

Karoonjhar hills (Credit:

Last December ‘The Pakistani Spectator’ wrote on its website: “Quietly, and below the media radar, some 20 top corporate bosses and lobbyists of two of the world’s largest gold mining groups have been meeting President Asif Zardari, Prime Minister Gilani, Governor State Bank and others in Islamabad, pressing them to quickly hand over one of the world’s biggest gold and copper treasures found in Balochistan at Reko Diq, worth over $260 billion, to their companies, and for peanuts.

The Supreme Court and the chief justice of Pakistan can pick up the issue and put a hold on whatever is going on before any binding contracts and deals are signed, which may cause losses of billions of dollars, yes billions of dollars to Pakistan. It has to be mentioned that it was the apex court that stalled the shady deal of selling Pakistan Steel Mills at throwaway prices by Shaukat Aziz government.

On the basis of his interviews in TV channels and print media, a petition was filed in the Supreme Court and Dr. Samar Mubarakmand was called by the court on the next hearing in January 2010 to assist the court regarding natural resources in Balochistan area of Reko Diq.

Thar coal (Credit:

The company’s counsel had told the court that an amount of $435 million was spent in exploration of natural resources with nothing earned in this regard. The CJ remarked that the Processing License could not be further sold; first the license-holder should give due share to the province.

Dr Samar Mubarakmand however is of the opinion that Pakistan has the talent to exploit these mineral resources. Even in case of Thar Coal, he is hopeful that with the local expertise, Pakistan can convert coal into gas, and that diesel can also be produced from this source. He said a pilot project has already done experimentation in this regard. Pakistan has Mineral Research organizations; therefore Pakistan should not spend foreign exchange on hiring services of foreign consultants and contracting companies.

Dr Mubarakmand had said that coal reserves are also available in powder form under water, and Pakistan could produce 50,000 megawatt electricity and 100 million barrel diesel just through the gasification of these reserves.

Saindak copper (Credit:

In the last hearing, Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry heading a three-member bench hearing the case of copper and gold in Reko Diq, said: “We are Pakistanis and should keep the national interests in view.” Balochistan’s Attorney General Salah-ud-Din Mengal had said the processing license has been given to BHP (now known as BHP Billiton after a 2001 merger), the company earned millions of dollars by floating shares in market; however, Balochistan was not given even a penny.

During proceedings in the apex court, Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry said that the matter being of commercial and technical nature should be sorted out by the Balochistan provincial government and experts and the licensees.

According to media there was some mystery about Reko Diq mines. Three licenses are said to have been issued ie EL-5, EL-6, EL-7 and EL-8. Local English daily in its report had said: “What has been found in RL-7 is also a mystery and the foreign company has not revealed anything to anyone about its findings in these areas”.

Reko Diq (Credit:

The apex court in its last hearing had remarked that the technical and commercial matter should be sorted by the Balochistan government. Having that said, the resources in Balochistan can change the destiny of the nation, and people of Balochistan would be the first beneficiaries. Of course, Pakistan will be able to pay back IMF loans, relieve the burden from the common man and safeguard its sovereignty.

—The writer is Lahore-based senior journalist.

Climate Change Conference Recommends Pak Government Wake up to New Reality

Pak Floods

Thatta, 22 December 2011: Policy planning and proper climate change adaptation is need of the hour to mitigate adverse effects of natural climate change factors.

This was said in the day-long Climate Change Conference held today in the coastal city of Thatta.

The SCOPE (Society for Conservation & Protection of Environment) organized the conference in collaboration with Drynet Pakistan, in order to help mobilize a partnership at the national scale for the implementation of a sustainable strategy on impacts of climate change.

The Conference was the first largest meeting of its kind in the coastal belt of Pakistan and it delivered a breakthrough on the response of stakeholders to climate change. The Climate Change Conference closed with the adoption of a number of demands that will strengthen global efforts to fight impacts of climate change.

More than 150 concerned participants highlighted continuous onslaughts of climate change in the form of recent cyclones, floods, heavy rains and flashfloods which have affected millions of people of Sindh Coastal belt region. They called on the Government to pursue ambitious agenda to tackle climate change impacts on country.

The conference was attended by a number of experts from civil society organizations, development professionals, donors/support organizations, Government departments, UN organizations, research institutes and media. Learned speakers of the conference concluded that grave challenges are faced by the vulnerable poor across Pakistan as a result of disasters caused by climate change (mountain areas, deserts, irrigated plains and coastal areas); and that a result based strategy for climate change adaptation and preparedness must be formed and followed.

Tanveer Arif, CEO of SCOPE, presented the Conference Theme paper on “Living with Climate Disaster: Impact of Climate Change Challenges and the Plight of the Poor, and adaptation strategies-with a Special Focus on coastal areas of Pakistan”. He concluded that Climate change is expected to lead to worsening extreme weathers (heavy rain fall and drought conditions) and greater heat extremes, increased threats of drought, floods, air pollution and myriad health problems; and that the adverse effects of natural climate change factors should be mitigated in order to reduce additional stress through climate change adaptation.

Dr. Ghulam Qadir of IUCN presented the impact of Climate Change and gave an account on worldwide impact perspective. He affirmed that climate change is mainly anthropogenic (mad-made) and is one of the most serious threats humanity and our environment have ever faced which if not addressed will cause catastrophic effects to Earth’s ecosystems, biodiversity and infrastructure.

Zulfiqar Halepoto, Senior Advisor of Thardeep Rural Development Programme (TRDP), said: “civil society organizations have great role to play in advocacy and research on climate change impacts and disaster management in order to understand climate change affects and help prepare institutions/communities with the realistic coping mechanisms”. According to him, preventive measures to reduce disaster risk are most effective when they involve participation at all levels, from the local community through the provincial government to the national, regional and international.

Other speakers including  Nisar Panhwar of WWF, Prof. Dr. Pervez A. Pathan of SDSC University-Jamshoro, and  Mustafa Sarwar Abbasi of Sindh Coastal Authority highlighted gaps in  policies and suggested practical approaches to tackle with the climate change menace.

Conference participants also took part in the discussion and the house issued a declaration of actions by the end in which they presented a set of demands from the Government to meet the desired results.

The “Thatto Declaration” demands the Government and all other relevant institutions stakeholders to pave way for adaptation of climate change strategy for the Sindh coastal areas. Environmentalists, human and civil rights activists, and concerned members of the civil society demanded for bold and timely actions from the Government. A few of the key demands are:

  1. Government should place greater focus on the capacities of the institutions linked to climate change adaptation for mitigating and adapting to the impacts of climate change, and improve integrating their contributions into national and international climate strategies and policies,
  2. Government should establish adequate legislative, administrative and institutional frameworks at national and/or Provincial level for Climate Change Adaptation, equip these with appropriate competences, and provide adequate funding and staff for the administration of related initiatives and their functions,
  3. The Government should ensure “Mainstreaming of Disaster Risk Reduction”.
  4. Role and Response of Stakeholders in the natural disasters should be made public and an accountability mechanism should be ensured.
  5. In view of flood disaster, effectiveness of DDMA should be enhanced and compulsory training of line departments should be ensured at the district level.
  6. System for information and communication on health, education and productive & basic infrastructure at the district level should be strengthened.
  7. Community-based approaches to Disaster Risk Management should be addressed and strengthened.
  8. Civil society organizations should integrate their programs regarding climate change and strategize collectively.
  9. Concerned organizations and individuals should form a multi-sector electronic “Network on Climate Change and Disaster” to strengthen debate, bridge communication gape and combine efforts on climate change mitigation and adaptation.


Pak Monsoon Affected are Food Insecure picture of flood hit Badin
According to the findings of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Activities, 4.3 million people (84 per cent of the affected population) are food-insecure – 2.2 million people severely food-insecure and 2.1 million people moderately food-insecure in the flood-affected areas of Sindh and Balochistan. Data collected prior to the floods and recently released as part of the National Nutrition Survey results show that Sindh had the highest food insecurity rate at 72 per cent.

More than 3 million flood-affected, food-insecure people in Government-notified districts urgently require agricultural support to resume food production and income generation. Farmers require agricultural inputs to cultivate Zaid Rabi crops – such as pulses, sunflower and vegetables – where Rabi wheat planting may not have been possible. As for livestock, there is a need to urgently provide additional feed and veterinary support to ensure continued livestock survival, and plant multi-cut green fodder to sustain surviving livestock in the coming months.

Please click here to download the report.

‘Earthquake Could Plunge Kashmir under Water’ – Geologist

NEW DELHI, Dec 10 — A recent U.S. prediction of a possibly devastating earthquake in the disputed Himalayan province of Kashmir has caused alarm here in India.

A study by Roger Bilham, professor of geology at the University of Colorado, Boulder, concludes that a magnitude-9 earthquake could strike in Kashmir, triggering massive landslides and plunging the picturesque valley under water.

Newspapers in Kashmir carried front-page stories on Bilham’s predictions Saturday, stirring public fears.

“People have been calling me all day since they read the news in the papers. They are frightened. I wish the newspapers had not run it on the front page. Why create a scare?” said Muhammad Ismail Bhat, former head of geology and geophysics at the University of Kashmir, who has worked with Bilham. He said he had known about the new findings for a while.

Until recently, most forecasts about the tectonically active Himalayan region have been based on historical data and information generated by GPS stations in neighboring Indian states and in Pakistan. But since 2007, as many as nine stations have been set up in the state of Jammu and Kashmir itself, providing new data to local and international analysts.

At the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco this week, Bilham said that new GPS data showed gradual movement of rocks in the Zanskar Mountains, north of the Kashmir valley, that he said could result in a Japan-level quake and kill about 300,000 people. The subsequent landslides would dam the Jhelum River, and when released, the backed-up water could cause flooding, he said.

In 2005, a 7.9-magnitude quake with its epicenter in Muzaffarabad, in Pakistan-administered Kashmir, caused widespread damage and killed more than 40,000 people. Seismologists recorded several tremors in the region in August this year.

Millions Pushed into Hunger by Extreme Weather – Oxfam

Peruvian amazon rainforest (Credit:

“Extreme weather like the droughts in Russia, China and Brazil and the flooding in Pakistan and Australia [in 2010] have contributed to a level of food price volatility we haven’t seen since the oil crisis of 40 years ago. Unfortunately, this could be just a taste of things to come because in the next few decades the build-up of greenhouse gases already in the atmosphere could greatly increase the risk of droughts, flooding, pest infestation and water scarcity for agriculture systems already under tremendous stress.” — John Beddington, UK Government Chief Scientific Adviser (March, 2011)

Already, the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization estimates 1 billion people are starving and another 2.5 billion are malnourished.

“Feeding some 9 billion people by mid-century in the face of a rapidly worsening climate may well be the greatest challenge the human race has ever faced,” as I argued in the journal Nature. Oxfam has been one of the leaders in making this case (see Oxfam Predicts Climate Change will Help Double Food Prices by 2030: “We Are Turning Abundance into Scarcity”).

On the eve of the international climate talks in Durban, Oxfam has released a new report that opens with Beddington’s quote and warns:

Climate change is likely to have a pernicious effect on food production in two main ways. Firstly, slow onset changes in mean temperatures and precipitation patterns are expected to put downward pressure on average yields. Added to this will be crop losses resulting from more frequent and intense extreme weather events.

Research to date has focused almost exclusively on the first impact, modeling the extent of long-run average price rises in the absence of volatility….

But this paints only a partial picture. More frequent and extreme weather events will compound things further, creating shortages, destabilizing markets and precipitating price spikes, which will be felt on top of the structural price rises predicted by the models. One need not rely on imagination to understand how this could play out for the world’s poorest people. Looking at the toll extreme weather events are taking on global food security since 2010 alone paints an alarming picture.

The whole report is worth reading, but here is their summary along with recommendations for Durban:

Durban climate talks must deliver action to prevent spiraling hunger

In the last year extreme weather events shocked global markets contributing to soaring wheat prices and imperiling food security in many parts of the world, according to research compiled by Oxfam at the start of the Durban climate talks.

This year could be a grim foretaste of what is to come as new warnings from the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) show extreme weather events are likely to increase in frequency and severity without action to tackle climate change.

“From the Horn of Africa and South East Asia to Russia and Afghanistan, a year of floods, droughts, and extreme heat has helped push tens of millions of people into hunger and poverty,” said Kelly Dent, Oxfam. “This will only get worse as climate change gathers pace and agriculture feels the heat. Governments must act now in Durban to protect our food supply and save millions from slipping into hunger and poverty.”

Oxfam’s briefing Extreme weather endangers food security 2010-11: A grim foretaste of future suffering and hunger? shows how several extreme weather events have contributed to food insecurity at global, regional and local levels since 2010. Oxfam warns that increasingly frequent and severe extreme weather events will compound the projected impacts of climate change on crop yields and food prices, creating food shortages, destabilizing markets and precipitating price spikes.

  • In an area of chronic vulnerability and political conflict, severe drought in the Horn and East Africa has pushed over 13 million people into crisis. In July, sorghum prices in Somalia were up to 393% higher and maize prices in Ethiopia and Kenya up to 191% and 161% higher respectively versus the five-year average prices.
  • Drought and fires following a massive heat wave in Russia and Ukraine destroyed much of the 2010 harvest and triggered a 60% to 80% increase in global wheat prices in just three months. By April 2011, wheat prices were 85% higher on international markets than the year before.
  • Heavy monsoon rainfall and multiple typhoons in Southeast Asia have killed more than 1,100 people and helped send the price of rice up about 25% and 30% in Thailand and Vietnam respectively versus the previous year.
  • In Afghanistan serious drought helped send prices of wheat and wheat flour in July 2011 up to 79% higher in affected areas over their levels a year before.

While it is difficult to attribute a specific weather-related disaster to climate change, the frequency and severity of extreme weather events such as those seen this year is set to increase due to climate change. For the poorest and most vulnerable who spend up to 75 percent of their income on food, this could have catastrophic consequences as families are forced into impossible trade-offs in a desperate bid to feed themselves.

“When a weather event drives local or regional price spikes poor people often face a double shock,” said Dent. “They have to cope with higher food prices at a time when extreme weather may have also killed their livestock, destroyed their home or farm, or stripped them of their livelihood. This toxic mix of higher prices and lower purchasing power has driven many people into crisis this year. If we don’t act in Durban, this pattern could become even worse.”

Where Dacoits and Environmentalists See Eye to Eye

Mangrove forests in Karachi (Photo Courtesy:

KARACHI — It was a brutal kidnap that turned him into an eco-warrior, and 27 years later Pakistan’s “Father of the Mangroves” still lets nothing get in the way of fighting against timber “mafia” and deforestation.

“This is my life. I am very happy with it. The cause is worth living such a life,” Tahir Qureshi told AFP, walking around the sanctuary that he set up in his spare time when he still worked full-time with the forestry commission.

He was captured by a kidnap-for-ransom gang in 1984 while working in the southern district of Dadu, now devastated by floods for two consecutive years.

“They kept me for a couple of days in captivity. But when they knew I was a forest officer they released me without further argument. That inspired me to dedicate my whole life for the rehabilitation of our ecosystem,” he said.

“The robbers released me as they respect those who respect forests. Trees provide them best hideouts.

“Besides, they are among many people who consider chopping trees as a sin because trees provide us livelihood and help better the environment.”

For years, it was a lonely if mighty cause, for apart from Afghanistan, in the grip of a 10-year war between Taliban insurgents and American troops, no other country in Asia suffers from a faster rate of deforestation than Pakistan.

In 2010, it was declared a forest-deficient country because just 2.2 percent or about 1.7 million hectares (4.2 million acres) of its land mass is forested.

According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) Pakistan lost an average of 42,000 hectares of forest a year between 1990 and 2010.

At the current rate, Pakistan could lose half its remaining forest cover over the next decade or so, says the FAO. The trend has been exacerbated by recent floods, the worst in the country’s history in 2010 and a repeated bout this monsoon season.

Qureshi has helped rehabilitate 30,000 hectares of mangrove along the southern coast on the Arabian Sea, including in Baluchistan, one of Pakistan’s most violent and inhospitable areas, home to Taliban militants and a separatist uprising.

Today he is a senior advisor on coastal ecosystems with the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

He starts almost every day with a visit to the mangroves, which he calls his kids, on Karachi’s Sandspit Beach. Wearing a khaki shirt and trousers, he wades into the swamp up to his waist to see how they’re getting on.

“We are historically a forestry-deficient country, but with the course of time the ratio has reduced alarmingly,” said the 65-year-old Qureshi.

So who is to blame? There are the timber “mafia” who hack away at mangroves and trees, trucking wood off to market by donkey and vehicle to sell as fuel, while the military and government officials are also accused of involvement.

“The current rate of deforestation is very alarming. We could lose our timber completely in two to three decades if not effectively checked,” an environment ministry official told AFP on condition of anonymity.

Hussain Bux Bhagat, a conservationist associated with the Sindh provincial wildlife department, says wildlife in the riverine forest, including birds, reptiles and mammals, also suffered severely because of deforestation.

“Particularly high numbers of grey partridge, which nest on trees and don’t leave its habitat have died because of continuing deforestation and last year’s floods,” Bhagat told AFP.

In 1947, when Pakistan was created from the ashes of British colonialism, riverine forests lined the banks of the Indus River.

They were the first line of defence against floods that have deluged the plains annually for thousands of years, as well as against shoreline erosion. Instead, the deforested areas are prone to flooding and landslides.

But riverine and mangrove forest represent only 20 percent of the forest cover in Pakistan — the rest is concentrated in the mountains of the northern provinces of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Gilgit and Baltistan and Kashmir.

There, officials, aid workers and residents accuse the authorities and the Taliban of being hand in glove with mafias cutting down trees.

The Swat valley was once the most popular tourist destination of the country before a Taliban insurgency began in 2007. After a major operation, the army declared the area back under control in July 2009.

But conservationists say tens of thousands of pine trees have been cut down, both during the Taliban years and under the military.

A former Forest Development Corporation (FDC) official, who spoke to AFP on condition of anonymity, said timber felling was one of the main causes of the devastation witnessed in Swat during the floods of 2010.

“Three kinds of actors participated in that: the FDC working for timber mafia, local people and the Taliban, who cut a lot to buy weapons,” he said.

“There are two kinds of timber mafias: the big ones, with a licence, and the local ones, people with no licence who bribe guards.

Numerous local residents said army trucks are seen transporting timber, but army spokesman Colonel Arif Mehmood in Swat told AFP he was “not aware” of the practice.

Others say the rate of deforestation has improved since the army restored control over the valley in July 2009. No department can provide statistics.

The Aryana Institute for Regional Research and Advocacy, a think tank, has also pointed to links between the timber mafia and Islamist militancy.

“Being shrewd investors, the timber mafia is believed to have spent part of its dividends to sponsor militancy. Huge sums are involved in the business, which has expanded to the hills bordering Afghanistan,” it said in a 2009 report.

“They invest money and energy in Talibanisation, that is how they protect their illegal businesses at the expense of the state’s writ.”

Copyright © 2011 AFP. All rights reserved

Pak Flood Waters Still Stagnant as Winter Arrives

Women crossing flooded Badin

The United Nations has warned that humanitarian agencies are running out of resources to assist those affected by floods in Sindh, even as the need for basic items, shelter and health services increases among more than five million affected people.

“Urgent relief is critical as families continue to suffer in the aftermath of the floods. Unless we receive new pledges to the Floods Rapid Response Plan, millions of people will be left in need of food, clean water and essential medicines for months to come,” UN Coordinator for Pakistan Timo Pakkala said.

Flood Damage

“We are grateful that donors have started to give to the Rapid Response Plan. But to ensure that we can help save lives now as well as tomorrow, we call on the international community to urgently step up their support for the people of Pakistan through this plan,” he added.

Humanitarian agencies have food stocks that will last a month, while drinking water and emergency shelter materials are likely to run out in weeks if not replenished, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Human Affairs.

Thatta after floods

UN agencies estimate that 2.5 million people desperately need safe drinking water and sanitation facilities. Food is required for 2.75 million people, while 2.96 million people are in urgent need of medical care. At least 1.75 million people require emergency shelter.

The UN and its humanitarian partners have so far provided emergency shelter for 314,500 households. More than 1.6 million people have received medicines and medical consultations, and 413,000 people have received food. Safe drinking water has been delivered to approximately 200,000 people and the UN aims to provide in coming weeks safe water to more than 400,000 people.

Market place near Sanghar (Photo: Fisherfolk Forum)

If the needed funding does not arrive, the UN and aid agencies will run out of food stocks some time next month. Drinking water supplies and stocks of emergency shelter will last only a few more weeks and a third of the flood-affected population could be without medical care in a month’s time.

The WFP has prepared its one-month ration packet in the light of a recent national nutritional survey which has highlighted alarming levels of malnutrition in Sindh. The ration, alongside the general family food basket, includes high-energy biscuits and ready-to-use supplementary food to address nutritional decline among the vulnerable groups.

Destruction in Sindh Floods (AFP photo)

A WFP-Unicef programme on community management of acute malnutrition is being expanded to include the disaster-hit districts of Sindh in an effort to provide treatment to young children and lactating mothers.

A joint rapid initial assessment has been conducted in 11 flood-stricken districts of Balochistan. Preliminary data suggests that food is the most urgent need there.

Saving the Mohenjodaro Ruins from Ruination

The ruins of Mohenjo-Daro in the Sindh province of Pakistan. (Credit:

19th October 2011:

The preservation of Moenjodaro was discussed at a conference held in Karachi on Saturday in which archaeological experts, top Sindh government officials and Unesco representatives participated. While the provincial government allocated Rs100m to help conserve the 5,000-year-old Indus Valley Civilisation and World Heritage site, experts in their desperation suggested burial of the ruins until such time that technology became available to control the rising water table and salt levels in the

Mohenjo daro The Great Bath (

soil that threaten the prehistoric site. International experts have reportedly been struggling for years to conserve Moenjodaro, in the process experimenting with various techniques that just do not seem to give the desired results. This is extremely worrisome.

It is clear that Pakistan alone cannot foot the bill for the conservation of the prehistoric city; funds coming from Unesco, too, have not enabled the experts to come up

Aerial View of Mohenjo Daro (Credit

with a formula to do the needful. The money and manpower, including experts working on the conservation project, are deemed to be inadequate by all accounts. There is thus an urgent need to create more awareness about the site that is no less important to human civilisation than the ancient relics of the Egyptian and Mesopotamian cultures. The need is to create a global fund and a pool of competent conservation research experts to explore the challenge at hand and to devise a custom-made solution that will work. It would be a shame having to rebury the unearthed parts of Moenjodaro in the very same soil whose rising water table and salt levels are threatening it. A global appeal needs to be launched by Pakistan with the backing of Unesco to further the debate on preserving Moenjodaro.

Mohenjodaro Walled City (

Granted, the time to do this should have been years ago, but the urgency of the matter demands it had better be done today.


Strengthening Participatory Organization (SPO) Update on Sindh Flood

The recent torrential rains have created havoc in Sindh. More than 350 people have lost their lives, 8,8million people have been affected among them 1.36 million are children and 240000 pregnant women facing hardships under open sky.

Now the rains have stopped, the flood water is standing in almost all cities and villages of Sindh. Due to breaches in the left bank outfall Drainage, in the kacha area of Dadu , Nain Gaj ,more than 25ft of water flowed into the area and caused human loss. Live stock and house hold items poverty stricken people also washed away. This is not the first time that the LBOD has severely affected and displaced the population of Badin.

The recent spell of heavy rains and flood has reinforced the losses caused by last year’s devastating floods. People are still struggling with severe problems like shortage food and clean drinking water, unhygienic living conditions, pregnant women have their own health problems and children are facing vector borne diseases. On the other hand, Government’s relief operation is too slow to address their needs. People also complain of political influence while distribution of relief goods.

Following table will help in understanding the level damage in different districts;

Sr # District Affected Taluqa UCs Villages Population Agri Land Houses
01 Badin 5 46 6300 1021000 343000 382000
02 MP Khas 6 41 5700 705000 134000 118000
03 Jamshoroo 4 25 614 8400 5820 75000
04 Benazirabad 4 51 4100 900000 125000 300000
05 Tando AY 3 19 1254 270890 66500 28000
06 Tando MK 3 16 1555 267000 68000 51000
07 Umarkot 4 27 1651 180000 160745 Acers 84474 Fully Damage & 77076 Partially Damage


Sr # District Deaths Livestock Relief Camps Population of Camps
01 Badin 50 60% 500 670,000
02 MP Khas 43 230 147 57269
03 Jamshoroo 15 14 9000 – 1000 local IDPs6000 IDPs from other district.
04 Benazirabad 32 80 Thousand to 1 Lac 625 28630
05 Tando AY
06 Tando MK 15 75 119 11873
07 Umarkot 42 Loses17368Vaccinated 340960

Drenched 9385

Treated 13360

Total Affected


132 238976 IDPs in schools,Tents City, Open Sky & Other Govt Building

For more on the Sindh flood, watch the interview by SPO chief Naseer Memon to Netherlands Web based television ‘The Water Channel

Oxfam Warns of Second Disaster

Sluggish donor response to Pakistan floods is
another disaster in the making: Oxfam
September 27th, 2011 at 3.02 pm.

Islamabad – International aid agency Oxfam expressed alarm over the floods in Sindh and Balochistan provinces, as only $1.30 has been committed per person by international donors in the first 10 days of the UN appeal as opposed to $3.20 committed in the same period during last year’s floods.

Oxfam calls on the Government of Pakistan and the international donor community to dig deep into their resources and rapidly increase their funding to prevent the disaster from deteriorating further. The agency warns that the situation of millions of people in Sindh and Balochistan will worsen unless more aid arrives.

According to the latest figures, more than 8.8 million people in Sindh and 14,000 people in Balochistan so far have been affected by the 2011 monsoon rains. The human impact of this disaster in terms of the number of people affected is more than the combined impact of the Haiti earthquake and the Pakistan earthquake of 2005. Reported losses are being estimated at $215 million, and that number is likely to increase as some areas are inaccessible, and the impact of the floods cannot be assessed.

“This is a cruel repeat of last year. Again funding is too little and far too slow. Donors must recognise the gravity of the situation. Millions of innocent people, the majority of which are women and children, are in desperate need of the basics: food, water, sanitation, healthcare and shelter. If assistance does not come quickly, then a second emergency of rising malnutrition and rising water-borne diseases risks making a public health disaster a reality. There is no time to waste. We must all act now,” said Neva Khan, Country Director of Oxfam in Pakistan.

Approximately 6.8 million acres of land have been damaged by the floods – an area nearly as large as Haiti.

According to the UN, the floods have wiped out 73 percent of standing crops, 36 percent of livestock and 67 percent of food stocks in the 13 worst affected districts of Sindh. In a province where already 72 percent of the population is acutely short of food, this loss of crops means hundreds of thousands more people don’t have enough to eat.

“Some of the most agriculturally productive districts have been hit this time. Sugar cane, chilli, cotton and rice crops have been damaged right before the harvest season. The women I met in some of the unofficial camps in Sanghar and Mirpurkhas districts of Sindh told me about the very difficult life choices they have to make every day. Many are going without food in order to feed their children. No one should have to make such choices. It is time to truly show the women, men and children of Sindh that we are human and have compassion. This must be shown through our actions — now,” said Khan.

Approximately 97 percent of the UN’s $357 million appeal remains unfunded. So far only $11.5 million has been committed by donors. This pales in comparison with the amounts committed to other crises. Within the first 10 days of the 2005 Pakistan earthquake, which left some 3.5 million people homeless, the international community had committed $247 million and pledged $45 million. This works out to $70 committed per person, during that time period.

Likewise, some $742 million was committed to Haiti 10 days after the quake and $920 million pledged. Some 1.5 million were directly affected by the quake, which works out at $495 per person in the first 10 days.

“People are living in desperate conditions. Each passing day puts more people at risk of deadly diseases, forces more people into hunger and destroys more futures. We are in a battle against time. Donors, the UN, aid agencies and the government, need to step up their response immediately.

Two weeks into the response, Oxfam and our partners have reached more than 238,191 people. We have provided 137,979 people with clean water supplies, conducted hygiene promotion sessions with 8,428 people, provided 20,335 people with hygiene kits and assisted in the search and rescue of 58,208 people. Oxfam aims to reach 850,000 people over the duration of its response and is working in the eight worst affected districts of Sindh.