Devastating floods have been ravaging Pakistan for over a month, but despite widespread suffering, the media coverage of this disaster has been casual at best.
Nearly 20 million Pakistanis have been displaced from their homes and put at risk for water born disease, yet the American media seems to have marginalized the issue, impeding the flow of supplies and donations needed to provide aid.
Some believe that “the West and Europe have adopted Islamaphobia, which obviously has clouded humanitarian concerns” (Huffington Post).
You don’t have to be a political analyst to see that more social and political unrest isn’t what this region needs. People are suffering, and as fellow humans and activists, it is our duty to do what we can.
Here are 5 things you may not have known about the Pakistan floods. Become informed, and then take action!
1. The United Nations has rated the floods in Pakistan as the greatest humanitarian crisis in recent history. Already, more people have been affected in Pakistan than the 2004 South-East Asian tsunami and the recent earthquakes in Kasmir and Haiti combined.
2. The Pakistan flood may be linked to the fires in Russia. Although the unfolding disasters seem far apart, they are actually being driven by the same meta weather system, according to a report from National Geographic. Kevin Trenberth, a senior scientist at the Boulder, Colorado-based National Center for Atmospheric Research, told the organization, “That’s because the monsoon – a seasonal wind system that brings rain and floods to Pakistan and much of the rest of Asia in summer – also drives the circulation of air as far away as Europe.”
3. Only a fraction of the people needing aid have been contacted by emergency crews. In the 10 days following the initial flood waves, the government managed to distribute only 10,000 food packs, which contained a box of dried milk, and a few bottles of water and Pepsi. These packages were meant to “feed” 80,000 people, leaving 1,720,000 without any type of aid.
4. The Pakistan flood may be linked to global warming. In an unprecedented move, the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) has come forward to formally blamed the flooding in Pakistan on “global warming,” angering some denialists (CNSNews.com). “Indeed, the Islamic world is paying a heavy price resulting from the negative repercussions of climate change,” said OIC Secretary-General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu at an emergency meeting in Saudi Arabia.
5. The destruction is enormous, and preys on the weak. Reports indicate 62,000 square miles of land have been affected — about one-fifth of the entire country. Of the 15 million people seriously affected, about 50 percent are children.
Care2′s Kristina Chew recently provided suggestions on how to take action to help those suffering in Pakistan:
The New York Times’s Lede blog has a list of organizations that are working to provide disaster relief to Pakistan. If you’ve any doubts about how relief funds are being used, see the Oxfam website, which provides answers to questions such as ‘Will providing more aid reduce support for the Taliban?’ and ‘How do I know my donation will not be lost to corruption or diverted to an extremist organization in Pakistan?’
Care2 Coverage of Pakistan Floods:
Image Credit: Flickr - United Nations Development Programme