From the ranks of developing nations, we now seem to have fallen into the category of countries under threat of a famine. According to a report by UN, at least six million of our people are currently in dire need of food, shelter and clothing, not to mention the damage done by floods that have disrupted the lives of 20 million people completely. That is an approximate 12 percent of the entire population. That is a deadly hit for a country where the income differential between the rich and poor had already been burgeoning fast and a large part of the rural economy had been losing means of livelihood. These 12 percent now need to be provided for even as the country continues to sink. Once the water subsides, the gigantic task of counting the losses would begin. Most of the flood-affected areas in Punjab and Sindh tend to be agricultural so with crops under water, you might as well say a requiem for their economy for the year. To make matters worse for those prone to worries about food security, the grains and rice stored on the lands or even inside the haris' houses have also been swept away by the water. Why should the rice that a hari (farmer) stored in his house in rural areas and lost in floods be an issue for us, for the national economy? Because this rice was the wage he earned and his savings too. The haris work with their landlords in return for a share in the cultivated crop which they store for the year, using it for sustenance and, when required, selling the rest for some income. The floods have wiped out their staple diet as well as their means of earning. This is another economic issue for food is a need which must be satisfied but given our ever falling resources and inept government, only a miracle would put food on the table of the most vulnerable poor now. -SAHAR JATOI, Karachi, August 18.