Tuesday, October 18, 2005

The Pakistani Earthquake

The big disaster story these days is the massive earthquake that devastated northern Pakistan. We have all seen the tragic pictures and heard the horrific stories. It truly is tragic, primarily because so many of the dead and injured have still not been reached. If one looks at the areas where the earthquake caused the most damage, one can understand why this is the case.

Okay, now that I have gotten the emotional part out of the way, let’s look at this situation objectively. The Pakistani government is not the most honest government in the world. It is not unfamiliar with corruption. Knowing that, can we trust this government to appropriately manage the massive aid that is being sent? Pakistanis are great people and will contribute whatever they can to help. However, we have to make sure that the government, that is managing this massive relief operation, does right by its people.

I write because it was reported today that Pakistan “declared that the reconstruction cost of areas affected by the devastating October 8 earthquake could go well beyond the initial estimate of $5 billion.

Now, one can understand that the estimates will be off because many of the devastated areas have not yet been reached. However, $5 billion is a huge amount to reconstruct areas that did not have much infrastructure to begin with. I could have bought the $5 billion figure had the government not come out and said that the figure could go “well beyond that.”

Well beyond that! We need some oversight here and not from the Pakistani government. I don’t trust these numbers nor do I trust the bureaucrats running that country.

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