And so we duck for cover, take a deep breath, and plunge into making sense of the madness that has descended upon us.
The Pakistani people have given with open hearts. And yet the distribution bottleneck means that up north in Kashmir and the NWFP, people are starving, and wet, and cold. There are no tents to be found in the city of Lahore. We can only hope this means that they are already on their way up north. The more cynical amongst us fear that it's more a case of hoarding to drive the prices up. A tent usually costs about Rs 4000 (that's roughly $65). Right now, they aren't to be had for Rs. 15000. Manufacturers say that they are working as hard as they can.
In the meanwhile, the winter descends in the mountains, and the 2.5 million who are homeless have already had to contend with hailstorms. Hailstorms severe enough that the camp set up in the grounds of one of the nation's better medical colleges simply collapsed under the force of the storm. Then there's the rain.
Then of course, there is the mounting anger, and simple, human, desperation of those who are starving while transporters gouge those who attempt to send donations north. Odd people, us humans. So noble, so mean.
6th graders at my school gave up their lunch money at the first announcement that the school was starting a fund. The premises look like a relief camp. It's affords me a great deal of pleasure to see overprivileged young Pakistani women organizing, mostly on their own, mountains of goods that have come in, pellmell, from families and friends of students.
This isn't particularly coherent. But my thoughts simply aren't that right now...