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Post Trauma Stress Disorder in Flood Affected areas of Pakistan


A disaster is an event that is severely damaging and disruptive for a significant number of individuals. An important fact to remember is, disasters do not just effect those directly involved, this means that there is a wide range of people that may be considered ‘victims’ of a disaster. This includes those who nearly escape death, those injured and those who witnessed a traumatic event. However with increasing media and news footage of natural disasters family and friends of those deceased or affected by the event may also go on to suffer some degree of psychological stress as a direct result.

Disasters whether natural cataclysms, like earthquakes, cyclones, snow storms, floods, hurricanes etc or man-made disasters affecting large populations in different parts of the world like wars, bomb blasts, ethnic or political violence and terrorism always result in tremendous number of deaths & destruction among the affected populations. Traumatic events & the coping strategies of people in such circumstances have a vital role in development of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and other psychiatric disorders like: major depressive disorders, (MDD) generalized anxiety disorders (GAD), & dissociative disorders.

Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a common disorder among victims of various disasters such as road traffic accidents, violent crimes, hurricanes, earthquakes and floods. PTSD is also a severe and complex disorder precipitated by exposure to psychologically distressing events. It is characterized by persistent intrusive memories about the traumatic event, persistent avoidance of stimuli associated with the trauma and persistent symptoms of increased arousal.
Flood is one of the most common and severe forms of natural disasters. It can result in direct economic and property losses, physical injuries, deaths, and psychological injuries.

Floods occur frequently in Pakistan. A severe flood that struck Pakistan in 2010 left hundreds of thousands of residents homeless and destroyed many infrastructural and agricultural projects.
The devastating flood in Pakistan which broke all previous records of havoc caused by natural disasters in the country has not only imposed huge losses on life and property, but also left unforgettable horrifying imprints on the minds of people resulting in psychological disorders among the affectees. Majority of the flood affectees, especially women and children, are suffering from psychological disorder after witnessing destruction of their belongings due to furious torrents.

It is of great importance to find ways of readily identifying flood victims who are likely to develop PTSD to enable the government take timely measures to protect the health of such victims.
In July 2010 heavy monsoon rains started in Pakistan resulting in great floods in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Sindh, Punjab and Balochistan regions. The Indus River basin was badly affected. It was blamed on unexampled monsoon rain.

It was estimated that at one point, approximately one-fifth of Pakistan's total land area was underwater. According to Pakistani government data the floods directly affected about 20 million people with 2,000 people dead. There was huge destruction of property, livelihood and infrastructure. The number of individuals affected by the flood exceeds the combined total of individuals affected by the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, the 2005 Kashmir earthquake and the 2010 Haiti earthquake, as been told by Maurizio Giuliano, a spokesman for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

The Pakistani economy has been harmed by extensive damage to infrastructure and crops. Structural damages have been estimated to exceed 4 billion USD and wheat crop damages have been estimated to be over 500 million.

Floods of the Indus River in 1973 and 1976 were considered the most severe after which Pakistani government created the Federal Flood Commission (FFC) in 1977. The FFC operates under Pakistan's Ministry of Water and Power. It is appointed with carrying out flood control projects and protecting lives and property of Pakistanis from the impact of floods.

The 2010 Monsoon rains broke all the previous records of rain in the last 80 years in Pakistan and were forecasted to continue into early August. The Pakistan Meteorological Department reported that over 200 mm (7.88 inches) of rain fell over a 24-hour period in a number of places in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab. A record-breaking 274 mm (10.7 inches) of rain fell in Peshawar during 24 hours. Reports of UN stated that 36 districts were involved and 20 million people were affected.

A report of ICRC international committee of the Red Cross said, The ongoing devastating floods in Pakistan will have a severe impact on an already vulnerable population. In addition to all the other damages the floods have caused, flood water have destroyed much of the health care infrastructure in the worst-affected areas, leaving inhabitants especially vulnerable to water-borne disease.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a psychiatric condition that may develop following any catastrophic life experience. There are a variety of different factors that may determine an individual’s specific predisposition for developing PTSD.

The recent interest in PTSD started with the Vietnam Veterans in USA. Since the recognition of PTSD as a diagnostic entity in early 1980, significant advances have been made in its recognition, measurement and management. Much of the earlier work was done on combat veterans and relatively less attention was paid on civilian populations. It has been known that pathological stress response syndromes can follow war, sexual assault and other types of trauma.

Professionals from the health department started considering PTSD as a major problem after this event. The soldiers returning from the conflict war zone developed many disturbing psychological symptoms, depression and loss of functioning. The ex-servicemen displayed a characteristic array of symptoms, which needed a definite diagnosis. This led to the impact for the development of PTSD. Since that time, there is increasing recognition that adults and children can develop severe and debilitating reactions to traumatic events.

Epidemiological data is usually available from USA & Australia. The developing countries usually lack authentic data and research work. This is the reason that developing countries do not pay attention to PTSD and assume that PTSD does not exist .4 But after the last two decades of natural disasters like earthquakes, floods & tsunami havocs in South Asia have led the researchers to think seriously to a series of research work on PTSD. The Asian researchers started working on psychiatric research topics after earthquake in Pakistan & Kashmir on October 8th, 2005. In the last few years the concept of psycho-trauma in development of psychiatric disorders has been latest in the field of psychiatry.

However, even now in a world so interested in learning about psychological disorders, when faces a disaster, much of the work is done in areas like giving relief and aid to the victims and providing other medical services. Less attention is given to the psychological problems faced by the affectees. As a result of this a majority of individuals around the world facing PTSD are left unattended.


This is an abstract from the research "Post Trauma Stress Disorder in Flood affected areas of Pakistan" by Dr. Sana Shakeel.
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How to buy a used car in Pakistan?


Have you ever yourself bought a used car? Or are you one of the lucky ones who always have someone (brother, uncle etc.) to do the dirty work for you? If you belong to the latter category then you should stop reading this post as this might be irrelevant to you. You might want to read my other post: How Not to lose your car to a thief.
As you are still reading this post, I believe you have, at least once, been through the hassle of buying a used car for yourself. Being a Pakistani, we have to look at many aspects of a car. Some of these aspects are pretty irrelevant to the developed countries but here in Pakistan they are of utmost importance.
Ok! So you have decided to buy a used car for yourself. Have you done your homework? Surprised? Confused? Don’t worry I am going to explain it in detail.

PRE – SHOPPING CHECKS:
When buying a used car, you must have the knowledge of “Market trends” and current “going rates” of vehicles. This is very important because if you buy something that looks like an “Alien” in the market or something for relatively higher rates than normal then you are definitely going to lose money when reselling it. In Pakistan 3 major companies have occupied the market: SUZUKI, TOYOTA and HONDA. There are other companies which are trying to grab their share of the market and are doing well. These include: NISSAN, MITSUBISHI and DAIHATSU. If you buy something from the first group, you do not have to worry about “RESALE PROBLEMS” or “SPARES” (True for most of the models). The second group does well in the “SPARES” but sometimes you will be stuck in the RESALE phase. Now image RESALE of CHERRY QQ, this could take years and if in between you needed some spares then the lovely QQ will be parked in your garage for quite some time.
So you must consider which make and model you are buying. Do some market research on it, ask people and then select your next car accordingly.
It’s a good idea to check the market prices of your selected car and have some references for it. This will help you in the last stage of buying your car.
There are many websites in Pakistan where you can look for used cars. The popular ones are;
Pak Wheels
Apni Gari
A to Z
Car Pakistan
Pk Motors
I have discussed differential advantages of these websites in my other post.

BODYWORK:
Bright sunny day is best to inspect bodywork. Under the sunlight repainted areas, scratches and cracks are easily visible. While looking at bodywork you must take notice of any corrosion or rust. Rust is one of the most damaging things to a car.
To check the paint, you have to be an expert. There is a specific sound that is produced when you dribble your fingers on the body of car. You should be able to differentiate between the sound of original painted and repainted surfaces.
It is a good practice to ask a bodywork specialist to look at the car for you. This will help you in getting the professional advice. This will also help you in negotiating the right price for the car.

COLLISION DAMAGE:
Never buy a car that has been involved in a major collision. Major collisions are the ones in which frames, suspension or steering is damaged. These are very hard to repair and there is always a greater chance of it not working in the desired manner. These cars have lower resale value and are very unpopular among buyers. If you get stuck with such a car, try to get rid of it as soon as possible.

ENGINE:
If you look under the hood of car and see a dirty, unclean engine area, the car might not be taken care of. You will have to look at the car very closely. But on the other hand a sparkling clean engine could be hiding some leakages or spills. So be very careful when looking at the engine of the car.
If the engine has any unusual sound, it will be a good idea to get advice of a mechanic on it. Any car with a sloppy engine is a headache and will make you feel sorry for yourself in future.
Ask the owner when the “TIMING BELT” was changed.
Start the car and check for the smoke. If black smoke is coming out of exhaust, you should consult a mechanic before making any decision.
You should always check the engine number from the car with the registration book. In Pakistan people tend to change engines and not update them on documents and with authorities.

TRANSMISSION:
If you are buying a manual transmission car, you should check that the clutch operates smoothly and the gears engage easily. Check all gears. A friend of mine bought a car, everything was fine but it would not engage in the FIFTH GEAR (i.e. TOP GEAR) and ultimately he had to replace the complete gear box.
For automatic transmission, check the transmission dipstick for correct level. Smell the dipstick, if it smells burnt, you must not buy the car.

SUSPENSION, STEERING & BREAKS:
Suspension, steering and breaks are a must to check. The shock absorbers can be checked by pushing down hard on the body of the car from corner and letting go. It should take one and a half swings to go back to normal. Driving the car on a poor road surface will give you a good idea of the condition of suspension.
Check the steering and breaks for any vagueness.

TYRES AND RIMS:
Check for tyre and rims of the car. If your desired car does not have good tyres and rims, you could be in for at least 30,000PKR. The tyres should have a minimum of at least 2.0 mm of thread on it. All the rims should be straight and without any cracks or damages.
Always check for spare tyre. I once bought a car. My friends asked me for a treat so being a gentleman I gave the treat happily. We sat and had fun till it was almost mid night. Now when I left for home, the tyre got punctured. When I opened the boot, there was no spare tyre, no jack and not even the spanner. I was STUCK. I had to knock on my friend’s door to lend me spare tyre and accessories from his car. So the moral of the story is: Always check for spare tyre and stuff.

INSIDE THE CAR:
While buying a car, you must look closely at the interior of the car. If the interior is all worn out and torn, you should consider calculating the expenses of redecorating it.
Check the odometer, an altered one would have numbers out of line. For digital ones, I don’t know how to check/spot alterations. If you know any way to spot it, do share it in the comments.
Always check the air condition of the car to see if it is working properly. If it is not in working order, you definitely have a point to pay less than the asking price.

DOCUMENTS:
Always check the documents of the car with concerned authorities. Cars with duplicate documents and/or duplicate number plates are very hard to sell. I will advice you not to buy a car with duplicate documents. You never know, the car might be stolen, unregistered or even used in some criminal activities. In Pakistan, you can easily find two cars in different areas with same registration.
This is a problem that you won’t face in developed countries but in Pakistan you might. And so you should be careful.

MAKING AN OFFER:
Ok! So you have checked the car for all the above, you have test driven it and are happy about it. Now you should negotiate with the owner to get a good bargain. If you have a list of all the problems which were indicated by the above checks, they will give you a good pitch to drag the price down.


Thank you for reading the post. Let me know about your thoughts on it. Do you have any stories or experiences of your own in buying a car, I would really appreciate if you could share with my readers.
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academia-research - A scam or a legit site for freelancing and money making

A friend referred academia-research dot com for freelance writings and earning money online. When I visited the site, it looked quite good. At home page it claims "Academia-Research Is a Leader in Providing Freelance Writing Services". Then it explains all the benefits of Signing up with the site and the earning potential that is for the registered users.

If you search for "academia research scam" on google, you would get some writers wrote about their experiences with academia research and how they don't pay or their late payments. There are also posts claiming that the telephone number given on the site is not working and the domain is also anonymized. The site uses a template and such site could be build with few hours of work. The site does not have any backlinks as well.

They claim to pay from $5 - $17 per page. Now I have worked with the freelance giants like freelancer.com and elance.com. The project owners do not pay in such straight rates. It always depends on who is writing and what are his/her writing style and techniques. Different topics have different rates.

Also academia-research claims that their customers request doctorate level writings and still they would not ask for your academic qualifications at the time of registration. How can you judge someone by just a few lines they write on a certain topic.

Here are links to some of the complaints:

http://writinghood.com/online-writing/academia-research-exposed-as-a-scam/
http://www.webproworld.com/webmaster-forum/threads/45707-Beware-of-Academia-Research
http://www.essayscam.org/Forum/14/please-not-use-academia-research-803/
http://www.essayscam.org/Forum/14/academia-research-com-is-scam-beware-2721/
http://www.scam.com/blog.php?u=127144 http://www.mylot.com/w/discussions/1522153.aspx

Have a look at these complaints and let me know what do you think?

I would request any one who has worked with academia-research, do let us know about your experience with them.
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Blog about what is happening in Pakistan and around it: Sheen Pekhawar (Green Peshawar) - How to get FREE saplings and volunteer registration at REDA

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Sheen Pekhawar (Green Peshawar) - How to get FREE saplings and volunteer registration at REDA

REDA is actively promoting Sheen Pekhawar (Green Peshawar) and is seeking registration of volunteers for the campaign. We urge all the residents of Peshawar District to step forward and become an active member of Sheen Pekhawar. REDA has started registering volunteers for Sheen Pekhawar and is encouraging the youth of Peshawar to come step up and fulfill their responsibility.

Teams are organized in different areas for registration of volunteers and to run awareness campaigns. Sapling planters will be registered as well. These planters will get FREE SAPLINGS through REDA. There will be FREE training sessions regarding Plantation, its benefits and look after issues as well.

For detailed information and registration please contact:

Dr. Waseef   0314-5122033
Dr. Zaka       0321-9191288
Amin Khan   0333-8886410


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Revamping and decorating my blog

After a few hours of working, I have revamped my blog. I was feeling that the blog is a bit boring and does not have any interesting stuff than the posts itself. So I started searching for some interesting widgets. While surfing for these widgets, I found out that there are loads of widgets that can be used on a blog and most of them were free to use.
www.widgetbox.com a very good website that has a huge variety of widgets listed under different categories. I have used a few widgets from widgetbox. They are easy to get and can be edited from the www.widgetbox.com and the changes will mirrored automatically on the blog or website where the widget is placed.
Wordpress and Blogger have their own widgets as well. They can also be used but I would say its a good idea to use third party widgets as well. This will help you get a newer look for your website or blog.
I welcome you all to my new revamped and redecorated blog. I hope you like it and enjoy the new look. But if you are not happy with something, do let me know through comments.
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Sheen Pekhawar - Green Peshawar by REDA


According to 1998 census, Peshawar is the highest populated district of Khyber Pukhtunkhwa. It is also an industrial hub of the province. These industries and millions of vehicles used by the locals’ emit toxic gases that have a negative impact on the environment. A steep loss in the number of trees and plants is also noticed in Peshawar and its peripheries due to new roads and many other factors. To attain the environmental equilibrium, a highly proactive plantation campaign is needed; in which communities, students, businessmen and locals are mobilized and encouraged to actively participate. This will be a self-sustained activity for the period of five years managed by “Sheen Pekhawar Network” which is a consortium of civil society organizations, academic institutions, media, local community, Forest Department etc. Lead Organizations include: REDA, ADFIRE, CAUSE, GEPS (Green Environmental Protection Society)

Vision:
To develop Peshawar as an environment friendly city, with active involvement of Public sector, CSOs and community.

Objectives
  1.      To plant 100,000 saplings of suitable species in District Peshawar and FATA through plantation campaign “Sheen Pekhawar” within Five years, starting March 2012.
  2.              Yearly Awareness campaigns regarding environmental issues; causes, effects and required actions.


Situation Analysis
Peshawar has 92 union councils with an estimated population of 2,038,629 (1998 Census). Hayatabad, one of the urban areas, has the major population and is identified with higher need for plantation. Hayatabad is a planned housing society and thus has many small parks, green belts and road side areas that can be used to plant new trees.
Chamkani union council comprises of two villages. It is a rural area where locals are mostly farmers by profession and are ready to actively participate in plantation campaign and have required land as well.

Sheen Pekhawar Network
Sheen Pekhawar Network will form CBOs in the targeted areas to
  1.      Take part in awareness campaigns by organizing walks, community get together, banners, corner meetings etc.
  2.             Take part in plantation campaign through school children, youth and residents as volunteers.
  3.             To look after the saplings for initial two years (irrigation, saving from cattle) etc

Awareness Campaign
Awareness Campaigns will start from 25th January, 2012 till 15th February, 2012. Banners, boards and holdings with Awareness Messages will be placed in different strategic locations. Volunteers will be identified and appointed in all sectors of Hayatabad and every Mohallah of Chamkani. Students, businessmen and residents will be contacted and different activities will be organized. Major activities will include but not limited to;
  •          Community get together
  •          Corner Meetings
  •         Community Walks

Different aspects of plantation including its need, impact on environment, benefits and safe keeping will be discussed in these meetings. Responsibilities will be allocated among members for the smooth running and successful completion of the program.

Plantation Campaign
Plantation Campaign will start from 16th February, 2012 till 30th March, 2012.

Proposed Species:
Specie
Surviving %
Poplar
82.33%
Alianthus
70.26%
Robinia
74.10%
Phulai
56.91%
Bakain
69.87%
Kikar
49.64%
Sheesham
76.17%
Sumbal
64.16%
Iple Iple
60.71%
Toot
77.49%
Mulbary
60.50%
Sour Orange
80.00%
Table 1 Species and Surviving %. (Source: PTA, 2008)

Costing:
Saplings: 100,000 x Rs. 10 = Rs.10, 00,000
Transportation: Rs. 20,000
Tools for planting sapling: Rs. 10,000
Banners: 20 banners x Rs. 1000 = Rs. 20,000 
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Green Revolution 2012 - REDA's request for helping hands

REDA is looking for participants, donors, volunteers, advisers for their proposed project of GREEN REVOLUTION 2012. 

Details of the proposal are;

Introduction
According to 1998 census, Peshawar is the highest populated district of Khyber Pukhtunkhwa. It is also an industrial hub of the province. These industries and millions of vehicles used by the locals’ emit toxic gases that have a negative impact on the environment. A steep loss in the number of trees and plants is also noticed in Peshawar and its peripheries due to new roads. To attain the environmental equilibrium, a highly proactive plantation campaign is needed; in which communities/students/businessmen and locals are mobilized and encouraged to actively participate.
Objective:
1.       To plant 100,000 saplings of different species in District Peshawar and FATA through plantation campaign “Green Revolution 2012”.
2.       Awareness campaigns among locals regarding environmental issues; causes, effects and actions.
Situation Analysis
Peshawar has 92 union councils with an estimated population of 2,038,629 (1998 Census). According to KPK Bureau of Statistics 2009 report Distt. Peshawar has a total of 1328 Government Schools. See below Tables for different statistical details.
School
Total
Male
Female
Govt. Primary School
1056
641
415
Govt. Middle School
150
84
66
Govt. High School
97
67
30
Govt. Higher Secondary School
25
18
7
Total
1328
2138
518
School
Total
Male
Female
Govt. Primary School
204134
122605
81529
Govt. Middle School
56875
36418
20457
Govt. High School
26085
16371
9714
Govt. Higher Secondary School
3326
1422
1904
Total
290420
176816
113604
School
Total
Male
Female
Govt. Primary School
5392
3274
2118
Govt. Middle School
945
559
386
Govt. High School
1386
912
465
Govt. Higher Secondary School
823
567
256
Total
8546
5312
3225

School
Total
Male
Female
Govt. Primary School
193
191
196
Govt. Middle School
118
137
9
Govt. High School
470
417
589
Govt. Higher Secondary School
920
822
1174

Green Revolution 2012:
REDA will mobilize, encourage and lead local communities for Green Revolution 2012. Different segments identified with potential are listed in the Table below.
Segments
Key Characteristics/ Strengths
Students
Energetic, Ambitious, Young
Teachers
Role model, Influential
Farmers
Experienced, Common interest
Land owners
Resourceful
Table 5: Target Segments and their Strengths
Target Areas:
Chamkani, Tehkal, Town, Saddar, Sarband, Hayatabad and Ring Road and FATA.
Proposed Species:
Specie
Surviving %
Poplar
82.33%
Alianthus
70.26%
Robinia
74.10%
Phulai
56.91%
Bakain
69.87%
Kikar
49.64%
Sheesham
76.17%
Sumbal
64.16%
Iple Iple
60.71%
Toot
77.49%
Mulbary
60.50%
Sour Orange
80.00%


Table 6 Species and Surviving %. (Source: PTA, 2008)

Costing:
Saplings: 100,000 x Rs. 10 = Rs.10, 00,000
Transportation: Rs. 20,000
Tools for planting sapling: Rs. 10,000
Banners: 20 banners x Rs. 1000 = Rs. 20,000

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