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Death and destruction in Panjshir

Panjshir, once known to be the valley of peace (because the insurgent Taliban couldn’t dare to carry out suicide bombings except one or two) and natural beauty has been worst hit by deaths and destruction caused by deadliest avalanches. The death and destruction is so massive that the government called it a national tragedy. Rescuers have been busy in battling to get to the areas buried in avalanches. Over 200 people have been killed. Many more are stranded. Afghan National Army helicopters are dropping edibles, blankets, water and other essentials to the stranded villagers that have been cut off for days. In solidarity with the people of Panjshir and the nation, President Ashraf Ghani cancelled Iran trip. He said he cannot leave his countrymen in distress. Heavy snowfall following the avalanche has made it difficult for rescuers to carry out their relief works. Heavy machinery has been busy at clearing roads. This greatest ever natural disaster has once again brought us together and provides us a window to look back that if we could show unity in battling natural disasters, why we have been failing to fight off man-made catastrophe, successfully. This troubled nation is grateful to all the nations that dispatched relief items and stood with us in this hour of national grief. Their helping hand has proved this notion utterly wrong that grief cannot be shared and everyone carries it alone. Perhaps it might be true for other living things but not for human beings.  We have been living a life of grief and loss which should be followed by a movement of hope, courage and change. In this war-wracked country there are too many other means of deaths and destructions as well. It’s not only the war that’s killing our people daily. Here even the nature looks brutal. However, we can overcome all these deadly challenges with unity, love, respect, integration and good governance. Our history is abound with brutalities—sometimes man-made catastrophes and sometimes the brutalities of the nature. Though, there is no way to escape natural disasters but organizations like National Disaster Management Authority should utilize all the available resources and energies at best to reduce the disastrous effects of natural calamities. Since we know that every year, brutal winter, and harsher weathers come as a killer, therefore NDMA should batten down the hatches. NDMA is well-aware that sometimes there are droughts, sometimes floods and sometimes avalanches that kill our countrymen year in, year out. Therefore, this organization needs to be well-equipped and manned with well-trained staffs. It doesn’t mean NDMA didn’t perform well. But yes, the absence of met offices in provinces has been responsible for such higher death tolls. The government should establish met offices in provinces prone to natural disasters. Met offices will keep foretelling about likely natural disasters. When people are informed beforehand they should be taken to relatively safe places. Met offices should also establish relations with media so that media could inform masses in a timely and effective manner.

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