Wednesday 6th October 2010, 6.30pm to 8.00pm, Room U8, Tower One, LSE
Speaker: Zahid Hussain
Chair: Professor Athar Hussain
According to Ban Ki Moon, the Pakistan flood is the worst natural disaster the United Nations has witnessed to in its 65 year history. Fed by exceptionally heavy rains, a massive torrent swept through the country, from the north to the south. The toll is grim and huge: around 1800 dead, 21 million adversely affected, 10 million displaced and 8 million in need of emergency aid. Towns, villages, crops, livestock, personal possessions and infrastructure have been completely washed away. Diseases threaten the people in makeshift dwellings.
The flood victims exceed the combined total of the victims of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, the 2005 Kashmir earthquake and the 2010 Haiti earthquake. The floods have come on top of a festering insurgency in the western region bordering Afghanistan and gruesome serial of sectarian violence. There is a palpable risk of social unrest provoked by rising prices of foods and electricity shortages caused by flood damage. Political repercussions are beginning to surface.
Zahid Hussain is a Pakistani journalist for the Times of London, the Wall Street Journal, and Newsweek. He is the political correspondent for Karachi-based Newsline. He authored "Frontline Pakistan: The Struggle with Militant Islam", on Islamic extremism in Pakistan. His new book "The Scorpion's Tail – The Relentless rise of Islamic Militants in Pakistan" is due to appear in November.
Professor Athar Hussain is Director of the Asia Research Centre.
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