SINDH PROVINCE, PAKISTAN – The bridge leads out of Sukkur to the town of Larkana, a two-hour drive to the north-west and closer to the restive province of Balochistan, home of a long-running separatist movement and, more recently, al-Qaeda and the Tehrik-e-Taliban. The turmoil caused by the monsoon floods has brought trouble to towns and cities that have been relatively calm and secure. Coming downhill over the ramp of the bridge, a crowd of around three hundred mainly men and boys were blocking half the road, fists raised and pointing toward whatever traffic came their way.
PORT-AU-PRINCE — Haiti President René Préval on Wednesday said that the country’s legislative elections would be postponed indefinitely due to the impact of the Jan. 12 earthquake. “The electoral campaign should have opened tomorrow and for obvious reasons, that won’t be able to happen,” Préval said in an interview at his temporary office. The change of plans stands in stark contrast to the Burmese junta, which didn’t let the devastation wrought by Cyclone Nargis in May 2008 get in the way of a nationwide constitutional referendum that proceeded as planned mere days later.
PORT-AU-PRINCE — Almost two years later, Brian Casey is visibly baffled and infuriated by the callous indifference shown by the Burmese junta to the Nargis disaster and its aftermath, not to mention its deliberate obstruction of assistance to its own people. “If you leave dead bodies floating in lakes and floodwater you facilitate the spread of water-borne diseases. If you prevent or ignore the need to send medical supplies, you ensure that people have no defense against these diseases,” Casey said. “It is my firm belief that the junta sought to create a second emergency after the cyclone, a second wave of death from disease, hunger, thirst and neglect.”