20 Feb 2011

Floods uncover evidence of feudalism's impact on Pakistan's poor

The floods that swept across vast tracts of land from July to September 2010 covered many fields, houses and roads in a sea of swirling water - but they also played a part in exposing the depth of existing poverty and deprivation in Pakistan.

“The malnutrition we are seeing is not new. It has nothing to do with the floods; it is just that we are seeing it now as people come into contact with medical teams,” Shershah Syed, a gynaecologist who has devoted himself to caring for impoverished women requiring care during pregnancy and birth, told IRIN.


Some of the ways in which powerful feudal families - in many cases linked to the political and bureaucratic elite - acted to protect their own interests at the cost of ordinary villagers have been well documented. Feudal overlords have been accused, both in the southern Punjab and in Sindh Province of influencing decisions regarding the diversion of floodwater or the breach of over-flowing dams to protect their own land.

Full story on AlertNet and more on csmonitor.com