6 Million Pakistanis need Immediate Aid as 1/3 of Country is Submerged

I can barely believe the words I am writing are not a nightmare from which I will soon wake up.

A third of Pakistan is now under water, and fresh rainfall threatens two more waves of flooding in the southern Sindh province.


Courtesy BBC

The submerged area of the country is as big as the United Kingdom!

14 million Pakistans have been affected.

2 million have been made altogether homeless.

6 million people are in need of immediate help.

The United Nations is now calling for nearly half a billion dollars in international aid for Pakistan, in the face of a weird resistance on the part of the world community to step up and help. When Pakistan faced a relatively minor security threat from a small guerrilla movement of Pakistani Taliban in the northwest, the world community ponied up billions in aid. This much more devastating flood is not generating the same enthusiasm for helping the country.

Oxfam America is taking donations for the Pakistan relief effort.

Aljazeera English reports on the flood victims still waiting for aid:

An unexpected casualty of the floods has been press freedom in civilian-ruled Pakistan. President Asaf Ali Zardari’s trip to Europe has provoked widespread protest. But the ruling Pakistan People’s Party officials have attempted to prevent the public from seeing the protests on television, and so have blacked out the GEO and Ary satellite news in Urdu. It is the sort of policy that military dictator Pervez Musharraf used to engage in, and it helped make him so hated that his government fell.

Aljazeera English has video on the disappointment in the Pakistani public at the government’s failure to distribute aid in a timely way and efficiently, and at Mr. Zardari’s trips abroad.

27 Responses

  1. Monsoon season does not end until the first week in September. If Pakistan was on the brink before these floods began, I think it is safe to say it has just gone over into “failed state” territory.

    BBC also reporting that food prices in Pakistan are surging.
    link to bbc.co.uk

    I’m wondering how long it will take before there is another Military coup.

    • Not very long…again it’s the Military that has come forward to help in the flood stricken areas and aid in rescue efforts…whether it’s a natural calamity or a security issue, it’s always the Pakistan’s army that pitches in… the only option when you are ruled by incompetent rulers and politicians. My opinion is a reflection of majority of Pakistanis right now. The Pakistani Government failed to take any preventive measures when they knew what was coming…rather President Zardari was too busy planning for his European trip…
      I am in Pakistan right now and the devastation is beyond imagination…I wish the world would realize that we don’t need aid for militant actions but rather expertise and help in rescue efforts

  2. Humans are killing mother nature but that seems to be a smaller story in the USA than the location of Mosques. Constitutional governance is under attack by the Supreme Court, the Obama administration with their expansion of the power of the executive branch and the party of NO which has blocked the legislative branch.

    In the 2006 book by Morris Berman, “Dark Ages America: The Final Phase of Empire” he says: “For what we are now seeing are the obvious characterizations of the West after the fall of Rome: the triumph of religion over reason; the atrophy of education and critical thinking; the integration of religion, the state, and the apparatus of torture — a troika that was for Volatire the central horror of the per-Enlightment world,; and the political and economic marginalization of our culture.”

    The column by Glenn Greenwald today at http://www.salon.com shows the lies of Jeffery Goldberg in the cover story of the new Atlantic magazine in making a case for Israel to bomb the nuclear facilities of Iran. The credible position, like that for Iraq before the war, is that they don’t have a program going but that doesn’t stop these people.

    This is totally crazy.

    Here we have potentially the largest humanitarian crisis in history (at least so far because Mother Nature can strike back harder than this) in Pakistan and there is talk about invasion of another Muslim country here in the USA.

  3. I mailed my contribution to Oxfam America yesterday because they actually help and are not just a “PR” organization.

  4. After you guys donate, please circulate. I noticed in the last few days that the number of affected victims is yet to be updated by Oxfam on their donation link. So when you are emailing someone that might not be aware of the magnitude of this disaster, mention that. I also tried to email Oxfam to ask them to update it from the old 1 million. I think it is important. The only option I had to reach Albert Lea, supposedly the person in charge in the US, was his director of the Chamber of commerce he heads. if anyone has a better way to ask them to please update it, please do so. Thanks.

  5. I also find it heart braking that Chicago air and water show cost more than our entire US government donation to the forsaken Pakistanis. A weird resistance on the part of world community and we are setting one the worst examples.

    • Remember it’s not a military action against terrorists…it’s only a flood that has only affected millions of people…hence very little interest in donating and helping.

  6. This is what results from global warming of 0.7C. Next imagine 2.0C. Finally imagine 4.0C. And remember, 0.7C is the warming we have gotten with greenhouse pollution (e.g. CO2, CH4, soot, etc.) despite the masking of aerosols. Without the aerosols, the current warming would be over 2.4C, according to Ramanathan and Feng. The CO2 will last centuries, but the aerosols will last only a couple of years, so when we finally pull the plug on the coal plants, the temperature will soar much faster than the gradual build up we’ve seen so far. By the time we do pull the plug, the final temperature increase will be a lot more than 2.4C. What is happening in Pakistan is merely a mild version of what is to come.

  7. This is staggering, as you say, virtually unimaginable. I honestly have no idea what the “mainstresm” print and broadcast media outlets are saying about this, because they have become so useless that I refuse to waste my time reading or watching them. So the main information I get about it is from this blog and from the links it it — why oh why can’t we get Al Jazeera English on our cable services? (never mind, I know why). I was just able to make a small donation via PayPal. I rarely do that kind of thing because I distrust large organizations and figure I will just get on another mailing list. But this is so sad I though I would go ahead.

    Another reason this has resonance with me is that we are having absolutely freakish weather in Iowa. There has been maybe 15 inches of rain so far in August when the “normal” average is 3 inches for the whole month! I don’t mean for a second to suggest that it is on anything near this scale — but many people have lost everything. The other day, an entire mobile home court was flooded to its rooftops so fast that some people had to SWIM for their lives and were not able to get ANY of their possessions out! The university of Ames was entirely cut off from the outside, every single road. And so on.

    Again, the point is not that it is comparable in scale, but that this stuff is going on everywhere. Yet, outside the local news, there is a strange disinterest. Our “media” is consumed with nonsense — dangerous nonsense — about stuff like the G****d Z**o m****e “controversy” (I don’t want to spell it out and create more linkage to it). In the meanwhile, we are sending 2,800 more Iowa National Guard troops to Afghanistan (that’s just Iowa; it must be 10s of thousands nationwide). You think they might they otherwise be able to help with flood rescue and reliefI don’t believe in “End Times” prophecy in the religious sense; I think the end will be more a matter of our own doing. And the level of insanity we are displaying may mean that it is near.

  8. If I were POTUS, I would end the Af-Pak war and use the money to buy up tons of crops from US farmers to send to Pakistan, and to send some farmers and Ag students to help replant later. The independent farmers could use the price supports, lives would be saved, and everyone involved could stop seeing “Muslim” and “Crusader” and begin to see farmers. I would make sure the American farmers understood that the foreign aid was directly tied to their price supports, and make sure that those who went over there would have plenty of opportunity to tell their stories. I would not care how much credit Zardari took as long as people knew who paid and saw who showed up. In fact, allowing him to look like a rainmaker would undercut the Taliban with those whose only motivation was that the government was bloody useless. I can’t imagine a better strike against “terrorism”, but then I’m not a politician, just a humanities grad and granddaughter of farmers.

    Inevitably, the bombings will continue until morale improves. /sarcasm

  9. The Ahmadi charity groups and doctors are ready to go and help, but ofcourse, we arent allowed. Funny. Come on, Pakistan, learn your lesson.

  10. WTF? Why doesn’t our President say a singular thing here? Has he? Have I missed it? Can’t we in the US even get our act together just once? We should be airlifting supplies to Pakistan. This is a true humanitarian crisis.

    Professor, for what little it’s worth, but I read you blog and a few others as I disagree(strongly)with your views on Israel, but, leaving that aside, why on earth is informed consent one of the few outlets for what is happening on our planet? Nothing on CNN, certainly nothing on FOX, and I heard little on NPR. This is a sad commentary on the state of our news media. I am ashamed to be an American when a third of Pakistan is drowning and we ignore it.

    Thanks for providing the Oxfam link. Horribly sad…. david

    • Thank you…I will convey your feelings and sentiments to Pakistanis here…they need to hear that the U.S Government doesn’t necessarily reflect the views of all the American citizens and they can feel our pain and suffering

  11. Food for this emergency will come through the World Food Program (UN) and they buy as far as possible, in the region of the crisis. NGO’s are then supplied through the WFP. What has been lost in the floods is this year’s rice crops, but they will also probably loose their winter wheat crop, as the rice needs to be harvested by September for the planting. Pakistan is highly dependent on this dual crop system. The estimates for this year’s harvest already showed a deficit before the monsoon season began. This is extremely serious.

    This morning NPR carried a story that a US Navy Ship with a large number of Helicopters is now positioned off Karachi, loaded with Halal MRE’s and capable of supplying significant drinking water using on-board systems. Food that needs cooking would be inappropriate now — no dry fuel to make family fires for cooking. Watch to see if Pakistan organizes mass feeding programs using bulk food in affected areas. Given that Ramadan begins in a few days, this may condition how food and drink are distributed. Australia apparently has ships underway with plastic sheeting and tents.

    It will be interesting to see if Indian NGO’s make offers, and whether Pakistan would accept.

  12. We need to stop pushing Pakistan to war and stop making war in Pakistan and focus on assistance. Why did Europeans not send President Zardari and family home?

  13. .
    I am reluctant to correct the teacher.
    But the notion that 1/3 of the territory of Pakistan is under water strains credulity.
    I was hoping an earlier comment would make the appropriate correction.

    Riverbeds in Pakistan are wide and shallow, as a rule. When the volume carried increases a little, the width of the river increases more. When the river has to carry flood-level volumes, the Indus, for example, can be more than 5 miles across, in places. So the amount of land inundated by swollen, widened streams and rivers is maybe 100 times or more what is normally covered by visible surface water.

    But the map is a little misleading. If there is any flooding in a district, the entire district is shown as flooded. The map shows that districts amounting to 1/3 of the area of Pakistan are at least partially inundated. For 1/3 to really be under water, the entirety of all of these districts would have to be under water, and that’s just not the case.

    When the actual scope of the crisis is almost beyond comprehension, there is no need to exaggerate. Unfortunately, transparent hyperbole can actually undercut appeals for sympathy and support.

    Please retract the statement about 1/3 of the country being submerged.
    .

  14. link to thelede.blogs.nytimes.com

    August 12, 2010

    Pakistan’s President Stays Away From Devastated Region
    By ROBERT MACKEY

    Pakistani Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani was criticized after he visited a medical camp that was later revealed to be a fake. Gilani passed out relief checks to actors who were hired to play victims for the photo-op shown on national television.

    [This is the Pakistani government leadership.]

  15. Juan, perhaps you might mention how the Afghan Air Force has played a significant role in Pakistani disaster relief from the beginning.

    At least 4 Mi17s are flying missions inside Pakistan. They are un-mentored by ISAF.

  16. […] The World Food Program reports that 80% of Pakistan’s food reserves have been wiped out, and 558,000 hectares of farmland have been destroyed. This season’s rice crop in Sindh Province, part of the country’s “food belt,” has been destroyed, and the Punjab Province, which holds 70% of the country’s cotton reserves, has been devastated. It is now estimated that 1/3 of Pakistan is submerged, about the size of the United Kingdom. […]

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