Monday, August 9, 2010

Floods in Pakistan

The death toll has officially crossed 1,600. The unofficial number is 3,000. Over 12 million people's lives have been affected. Around 80% of the country's food reserves are gone. The scale of this calamity is mind-boggling; the UN is predicting that the aftermath will be even worse than the 2004 tsunami in the Indian Ocean, 2005 earthquake in northern Pakistan, and 2010 earthquake in Haiti combined.

What has hit Pakistan in this millennium? Or even in just this year alone? From the attacks on Ahmadis in Lahore to the plane crash in Islamabad to the floods in the north, to the riots in Karachi, the last three, in the space of just a few days last week? From the Taliban to the US drones. And now the floods are moving south, into Sindh. Terrifyingly, meteorologists are predicting that the rains will continue in the next 24-36 hours. So many crops have already been destroyed the price of tomatoes alone has tripled in two days. Are we looking at a nation-wide famine? In the past, Pakistanis could at least be proud of not needing food aid. Is even that dignity soon to be lost?

The particular case of Swat Valley is heart-breaking. Sawatis had to suffer the Taliban and then the Pakistan Army, and now most of the valley is completely cut off, so relief efforts are at a near standstill. Here's a painful Youtube video on Mangora, Swat Valley: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uyv1NoPl28E&feature=channel






And I just came across some more devastating photos:

What to do? If you are in a position to help, please donate to one of several relief agencies that are dependable and doing their best to access areas that the government alone does not seem able to help. (Don't get me started on President Zardari's grotesque visit to Europe this week, while his countrymen and countrywomen drown.)

Here are some suggestions for how to donate.

This link has a video and a way to donate through the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC):

Another excellent way is through the Edhi Foundation, which has centers in the US, UK, Canada, Australia, Japan, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. http://www.edhifoundation.com/contact.asp

If you would rather go through other agencies (Red Cross, Oxfam, UNICEF etc.), here's a complete list http://edition.cnn.com/2010/WORLD/meast/08/04/help.pakistan/index.html#fbid=nR8slPBTCBA&wom=true


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