Enough is enough is more than enough There is more than enough despondency around without adding to it. Yes...the flooding is catastrophic. Yes...20 million affected people are no joke. Yes...the fear of epidemics is frightening. That of famine a hard reality but, as the inevitable blame game takes on a momentum all of its own, shouldn't we be moving past the shock and horror plastered boldly all over the news and pick up on the massive task of reconstruction in a positive manner? Front page news should now be all about what needs to be done and how we, the people, can help, individually if need be, to get these displaced millions back on an even keel. We, along with them, will pay through the nose for it if we don't. This is not to say that we should let any guilty party off the hook...no way but...we must get our priorities right. Temporary relief measures were, quite obviously, needed but now, and no, it is not too soon, instead of continuously weeping and wailing for tents, it is time to look towards long-term measures in the shape of low cost, climatically suitable, housing and this does not mean concrete boxes that turn into fridges in winter and microwaves in summer. Truth be told, the much talked of, wastefully expensive to maintain, National Disaster Management Authority should have had a blue print, along with stores of necessary building materials, ready and waiting for 'something' to happen. Surely, this is part and parcel of its remit and, if not, then it certainly should be. We are not even talking bricks and mortar here: that would be far too much to expect. If the NDMA was worth its salt, which is isn't, it would have had in place, or at least on hold, million upon million of straw bales which, in developed nations, are the eco-friendly construction material of the day and relatively low cost material at that. This durable, particularly when plastered with mud which is definitely something to be found in the disaster area in plenty, material can be used to throw up temporary shelter in no time at all and, when conditions permit, be utilised to build some rather classy homes judging what they can do with the stuff in countries such as Australia, UK and America to name but a few. Surely we don't expect those, who have lost all they have, to camp out forever and a day, their misery sliding from page one to page three, then five and then oblivion, as the nation conveniently forgets all about their predicament with the few unaffected who actually remember the plight of their brothers and sisters, for this is who they are, complacently presuming that someone, an NGO, a government body, an international aid organisation, is quietly getting on with the job of helping them glue the shattered fragments of their existence back together. This is not how it should be. Front page news should continually drum in to us that these people need our help and understanding for at least the next five years. We should neither be encouraged, nor allowed to forget them as we did the earthquake-affected people a mere few weeks down the line. Here we are in 2010 and countless earthquake-affected people have still not been able to remake their lives despite, somehow or other, managing the best they can over the five long years since that particular tragedy and how many of us even remember their existence. Far too few my friends. Far too few. True, there has been one wave after another of IDP's in the intervening years, more than enough of them to stretch any form of charity to the limits and, before that and continuing to this day, there are Afghan refugees too. We are first class at rising to meet events as and when they occur but, for some strange reason, we seem to run out steam pretty fast and, even though I am a member of the press myself, it is in this direction an accusatory finger must be aimed. The news of the day is, all too often, just that. The press lives on headlines as headlines are what sells newspapers and magazines, gets audiences glued to their television screens or whatever and, once the initial impact has been made then its time to grab the public with something else which, as it goes, is fine as every story has its day. When it comes to disasters though, the current disaster being of a totally unprecedented magnitude for Pakistan, follow ups should continue on a regular basis until all concerned are once more safe, sound, properly fed, housed and back at work. If a story disappears from the news, it automatically evaporates from people's conscious minds too and this time we must not let that happen. If we do, 'we' in this instance meaning the press...we will be guilty of serious humanitarian neglect. The writer is a Murree-based freelance columnist