NYT: Pakistan, Drowning in Neglect

Pakistan, Drowning in Neglect
Ali Sethi

NYT, Aug. 25, 2010: THE old man was sitting on his string bed. But it was upside down; its finely rounded legs were pointing to the sky, and the knotted ropes strung across its wooden frame were wet. Underneath it were several plastic drums — once used for storing diesel fuel — that had been emptied out and tied to it for buoyancy. The makeshift raft was bobbing up and down, and the man sitting on it had his legs in the yellow-brown water, which stretched around him for miles and miles like a strange sea, the tops of faraway trees sticking out of it like little islands.

“Hold it like that for five more minutes!” cried the cameraman.

I had accompanied a TV crew to this submerged village in the western Pakistani province of Baluchistan. The floodwater had dissolved the villagers’ mud houses, turned the rice fields they tilled into a lake and the road above into an embankment.

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