The floods have wreaked absolute havoc across the entire Pakhtoonkhwah and destroyed vast swathes of irrigated land. Thousands of homes have been gutted and a million people rendered homeless. At the time I am writing this, the road access to Pakhtunkhwah is cut-off because the bridges and link roads that connected various parts of the province could not sustain the pressure of floodwaters and have collapsed at many places. These bridges were the communication threads between the rescue teams and flood victims as the rescuers reached the stranded through these in the flood-affected zones. Now the only way to access the flood hit areas is through use of helicopters. The rescue workers of Pakistan Army are busy rescuing and transporting people to safer areas with great dedication. But the most telling aspect of the entire episode is that civil disaster management authority that is supposed to help in these tragedies is nowhere to be seen. We have no civilian helicopters. If we did not have the dedicated soldiers of Army doing the rescue, the scenario would have been a lot worse. Of course, the scenes being described and (sometimes) shown by television channels are moving, heart-wrenching, absolutely unbearable. People flailing about helplessly in floodwaters are a sight that has the whole helpless nation bleeding in tears. There is the absurdity of the official view to be taken into account, though. With the entire lot of villages around the cities of Swat, Nowshera, Charsadda and Peshawar deluged in water, the statement of Mian Iftikhar (Information Minister) that 800 people had died in these floods has caused considerable consternation. After all, even the United Nations says more than one million people have been displaced. How many do you imagine would have died in a flood of that severity? There is the immediacy of handling these one million homeless people who have nothing in hand. They are putting up under open sky with the threatening cloud of rain in this severest of Monsoons ever hovering over their heads and on their minds. The government is trying to accommodate them in school buildings yet a huge lot of them still await help wherever they are. They need food, shelter and clothing. The government should immediately establish a Flood Relief Fund for helping the affected people. And it must be ensured that this fund is used in entirety for rehabilitation of these people, rather than embezzled like the past on one pretext or other. Perhaps we should request our rulers again for saving the extra expenditure on government functions, banquets, meetings and trips abroad? Is it too much to ask? -BADAR UL ISLAM, Islamabad, August 1.