Tuesday, August 31, 2010

On the Pakistan floods

Pakistan orders nearly half a million to evacuate

Torrential monsoon rains triggered massive floods affecting a fifth of the volatile country – an area roughly the size of England...The catastrophe has already affected more than 17 million people and left eight million dependent on aid to survive....The Pakistani government has confirmed that 1,600 people have been killed and 2,366 wounded, but officials warn that millions are at risk from diseases and food shortages.

More deaths feared in Pakistan as flood waters recede

But the need for help is greatly outpacing the supply..."The magnitude of this crisis is reaching levels that are even beyond our initial fears, which were already leaning toward what we thought would be the worst," Maurizio Giuliano, a spokesman for the U.N.'s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, said Friday. "The number of those affected and those in need of assistance from us are bound to keep rising. The floods seem determined to outrun our response."..."The flooding has surrounded millions of children with contaminated water," said Karen Allen, deputy representative of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) in Pakistan. "Most have nothing else to drink. We fear the deadly synergy of waterborne diseases, including diarrhea, dehydration and malnutrition."..

Devastating Pakistan floods finally heading to sea

Floodwaters that have devastated Pakistan for five weeks headed to the Arabian Sea on Tuesday after swallowing two final towns, but the challenges of delivering emergency aid to 8 million people remained...
Aid is slowly reaching the worst-affected areas by army helicopter, road and boat, but millions have received little or no help. The UN warned that additional funding for emergency food was urgently needed to ensure supplies into next month....Once all the floodwaters recede, the country will be left with a massive relief and reconstruction effort that will cost billions of dollars and take years. An estimated 1 million homes have been damaged or destroyed, five times as many as were hit by this year's earthquake in Haiti.

One can't really find enough words to describe this overwhelming Pakistan tragedy. It is more depressing to realize that this massive devastation occurred in a country that is already stricken by violence and massive economic woes. At times like this, it would be ideal that the entire world join forces in alleviating the suffering of a severely afflicted nation. Aid missions whether large or small, can make a huge difference when combined, and every single suffering alleviated goes a long way. To this end, I am wondering why our government is more concerned about protocols before helping out. It is silly for those commenters to say that our countrymen sorely need the DOH services first and foremost. In cases like this, no one is too poor to help out, and barriers should be broken.
Note: Vatican-based Caritas Internationalis is organizing a $5.5M fund drive while Caritas Philippines is coordinating the local efforts in soliciting financial assistance from the dioceses.

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