The physical trauma of floods and its devastation is such that it is beyond a person's comprehension to see difficulties of the rescue operation and relief work that is often being done under the oddest, as well as hardest of circumstances. Just look at the scale of challenge we are facing. According to a report of The New York Times, the UN officials have estimated that 30 million children and infants are at currently at risk of water-borne diseases. People need help, relief, supplies, sympathies, all and in lots, in this hour of grief and suffering. That their woes, and their pleas, requests and criticism are having no effect on the rulers is something they cannot understand. The politicians make a lot of show of doing a lot but, practically, it is not visible anywhere. In a society like ours where there is always an expectation of help and solace from those who matter when times are bad, or a tragedy strikes, this lack of response from leadership is causing still more distress. When one is in physical agony, the mental stress is always an added concern because of the emotional trauma it can cause. It can lead to aggression in behavior, something we should expect to see a lot in the days to come. There is a need to avoid situations that allow surge of that aggression. The solution lies in helping people overcome the emotional trauma by providing them with basic necessities as well as counseling to cope with the situation. It is important to help people cope with disaster by utilizing their own natural resilience. Flood is the sort of calamity that can sometimes have long-drawn psychological implications. As we do not have psychologists and counselors who can approach the affected people, the scale of affected being so large and dispersed, the local leadership with whom people have long prior affiliations need to take the responsibility of sharing their sufferings. The first step is to contact people personally, or through any other means to give them a feeling of comfort. Then provision of a safe place where families and children are secure. Too many incidents of abductions of young girls have been reported for one to emphasize the importance of this too much. Next is getting information about the affectees in order to gauge and then accommodate their needs. Then, to maintain and stabilize the situation so that there is a guarantee that they are properly looked after. Practical efforts are required to encourage the general public to provide food, clothing and whatever else they can. There is also a need to encourage people to form social support groups so that they take responsibility of one camp or the other, making their work easier. There are tough times ahead. Only by giving them hope will we make them strong enough to overcome. -ANWAR PARVEEN, Rawalpindi, September 3.