Pakistan flood relief

// 23 August 2010

Many of you will be aware of the devastating flood which has hit Pakistan, causing what the director of UNICEF’s emergency operations has described as the largest humanitarian crisis “in decades”.

Sindh, in the south of Pakistan, is now being described as the country’s worst-hit province, with officials saying at least 200,000 residents have fled in the last 24 hours.

In Shahdadkot, the BBC’s Jill McGivering says residents are leaving en masse to try to reach safe ground.

The makeshift 4ft mud barrier, built by the army and volunteers, was the city’s last line of defence and has now been breached in several places.

Jam Saifullah Dharejo, Sindh provincial irrigation minister, said that most people had been escorted to safety, but efforts were under way to help those still stranded.

“We are trying to save the city from the unprecedented flood,” he said.

The Pakistan government has said that the cost of rebuilding after the floods could be as high as $15bn (£10bn).

About one-tenth of the homeless have places in relief camps, the rest are trying to survive alone, without shelter or any assurance of food, she says. Aid is being provided but it is limited and in enormous demand.

Dozens more villages have been inundated and although authorities expect flood waters to drain into the Arabian Sea over the next few days, evacuees who return may find their homes and livelihoods have been washed away.

The floods began last month in Pakistan’s north-west after heavy monsoon rains and have since swept south, swamping thousands of towns and villages in Punjab and Sindh provinces.

The UN said on Friday that more helicopters were urgently needed to reach communities cut off by the water.

Experts warn of a second wave of deaths from water-borne diseases such as cholera unless flood victims have access to supplies of fresh drinking water.

Shirkat Gah, a women’s resource centre in Pakistan, has put out an appeal for funds (the Shirkat Gah website is down as I write this, but the appeal is also hosted by the Women Living Under Muslim Laws website). Please spare some money if you can.

(Some links on the gendered effects of natural disasters and environmental degradation here and here.)

Comments From You

Denise // Posted 23 August 2010 at 12:07 pm

Maybe the Prime Minister of Pakistan could sell his French chateau. I’m sure that would raise a few million.

Lynsey // Posted 23 August 2010 at 1:12 pm

Denise that might be true but not that helpful to the people suffering, as he’s probably not going to.

Joanne // Posted 29 August 2010 at 12:16 pm

If Pakistan can afford a nuclear deterrent, they don’t need my money.

Jolene Tan // Posted 29 August 2010 at 2:53 pm

I’d suggest there’s a bit of a difference between the Pakistani state and the women’s resource centre who will – for example – be working to ensure post-disaster aid, land claims etc. are administered in a way that helps women!

Feminist Avatar // Posted 29 August 2010 at 6:50 pm

@ Joanne- presumably you wouldn’t give any money to British charities either then?

Hazel // Posted 30 August 2010 at 12:53 am

Joanne, we have a nuclear deterrent, I guess you don’t give money to charity in the UK either.

Jessie // Posted 31 August 2010 at 9:51 am

Leaving aside the nuclear deterrent issue, I wouldn’t give money to UK charidees, with their vastly overpaid CEO’s and aggressive chuggers. It’s just one big rip off – scarcely anything left over for the people who need it. And what is wrong with the suggestion above, that the Pakistan prime minister should sell his chateau? Why don’t charidees try to guilt-trip people such as him into doing something, instead of always targeting people like me who don’t have much money to spare?

Nadia // Posted 9 September 2010 at 8:56 pm

so would you sit back and watch the show while millions die? i wonder if you would respond similarly if it was your family out there, homeless without food or water, or hope

Anwar Rizvi // Posted 11 October 2010 at 12:39 am

Just to make you and followers of your blog aware of the challenge we are undertaking from the UK in aid of the UNICEF Pakistan Flood Children’s Appeal. In October/November of next year, 2 motorbike riders will ride all the way from London to Dubai and we are hoping to raise at least 30,000 (Thirty Thousand) British Pounds through sponsorship. People can support us and follow our challenge by joining our Facebook page: London to Dubai 2011 or click on the following link:

We look forward to encouragement and support from all people of goodwill.

Warm Regards

Anwar Rizvi

Project co-ordinator

London to Dubai 2011 in aid of UNICEF Pakistan Flood Children’s Appeal

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