Pakistan floods

by purplesofa 25 Replies latest social current

  • purplesofa

    Giving for this fund (in the UK) is well below the funds raised for other disasters in recent years.

    Right, I understand.


  • designs

    Use a little caution and vette the charity you choose, the UN, UNICEF, and the American Red Cross will get your donation to the people in need.

  • hamsterbait

    It was on the news that a rescue boat stopped for the hour of prayer whilst people were drowning.

    One man who had not eaten for days was given food, and then beaten up because he ate it before sundown. This is Ramadan.

    I feel very sorry for the victims, but just a couple of days before, Pakistan was spouting antiwest invective, and telling us to mind our own business and leave them to run things their own way.

    Could all the hate filled rhetoric so close to the disaster still be remembered, and account for the low response?

    Since Pakistan has a nuclear missile program, I suggest they divert their money into aiding their own citizens. They have more than enough obviously and dont need any of mine.


  • purplesofa

    Very sad that the children must suffer for the action of the adults!

    Seems that is exactly what the bible teaches.


  • Sad emo
    Sad emo

    For UK donations:

    This is a blanket organisation which sends cash to the charities which have projects and workers who are already there on the ground.

    Sorry if the link is unclickable - doesn't seem to do it with Firefox!

  • purplesofa

    FRIDAY, AUG 20, 2010 13:30 ET

    The female victims of Pakistan's flood

    Women face starvation, disease and sexual assault. They're also not supposed to get aid from male relief workers
    Open Salon blog.

    Just when you thought the "ground zero mosque" was our most pressing concern, the floodwaters of Pakistan arrived to create "probably the biggest emergency on the planet today,'' as UNICEF puts it. It is a disaster that contains the germ of many others: starvation, epidemics, climate change, political instability and future violence. Heavy rainfalls have placed some 20 percent of Pakistani territory underwater, an area greater than Italy, killing more than 2,000 persons and displacing and destroying the livelihoods of around 20 million more. Six million require immediate assistance. As always in disasters of this kind, it is women and the children they care for who tend to suffer the most -- both in the immediate disaster and in the long, uncertain aftermath. This suffering manifests itself in ways that raw statistics cannot measure.

    According to the RHRC (Reproductive Health Response in Crises Consortium), 85 percent of persons displaced by the flood are women and children. As the floodwaters rise, they are at acute risk from starvation, exposure, sexual assault and water-borne diseases. However, providing them with assistance is more difficult than these basic facts suggest. In traditional Pakistani society, it is taboo for women to receive aid or medical care from male relief workers, preventing many of them from seeking such aid in the first place.

    This particularly applies to pregnant women surprised by the flood. Pakistan already had a high maternal morality rate before the flood, with 320 women dying per 100,000 live births. This rate has undoubtedly increased due to the disaster. While the Pakistani government and NGOs have sent female aid workers into the affected areas, their numbers are not always sufficient to meet the crushing demand for help. In addition, women are increasingly cut off from a supply of birth control pills and condoms (before the flood, 30 percent of fertile women were using some form of contraception). A wave of unwanted pregnancies, with all the complications that will bring, is certain.

    An OCHA report from Aug. 16 states that "the large numbers of children and pregnant and lactating women without access to food and the rising trend of diarrhea point towards a clear risk of malnutrition among the affected population." But even where food aid is available, fair distribution to those who need it most is almost impossible to ensure. As 12-year-old Shahid Muhammed told IRIN News, "When food is distributed the strongest young men grab it for their own families and push us children aside."

    The dislocation caused by the flood could be particularly upsetting for women in Pakistan’s traditionally conservative rural areas. Shmyalla Jawad, the gender advisor for Plan Pakistan, described what she saw to the BBC:

    What emerged for me to be the most worrying thing was how women and young girls are being affected by this. Health and sanitation is a big issue. One camp set up in a government building had no bathing facility. Whereas the men and young children can take baths outside on the school lawn, women don't have that option. Many people didn't have a chance to pick up their belongings when the floods hit their village so they have no change of clothes. Many are wearing what they left home in and without being able to wash and women's hygiene in particular has deteriorated. The situation is even worse for menstruating and pregnant women.

    Moreover, Jawad explained:

    The camps are also culturally shocking for women and girls. Many have never been around a man who isn't a member of their family. Now they are amongst hundreds of men who are complete strangers. In some sectors of Pakistan society, apart from the religious notions of covering up and not mingling with males outside one's family, women are considered to be the custodians of male and family honor. This notion of honor is linked with women's sexual behavior so their sexuality is considered to be a potential threat to the honor of family. Therefore, the systems of sex segregation known as purdah are used by the society to protect the honor of the family. But in the camps there are no provisions for purdah. Young boys and girls have to sleep in the same room, at times next to each other, most mothers and families do not feel it's safe for their daughters, especially in the current circumstances.

    Now it could be that the disaster and the world's response will "shock" Muslim women into adopting a more "modern" and "Western" outlook on life (as Naomi Klein might put it). But this is surely an untested and utterly heartless notion. The opposite result is just as likely. In any case, as government and Western aid takes its time in arriving, Islamist groupsmore in tune with local proprieties have been filling the gap, clearly jockeying for a more visible role in the reconstruction. British-Pakistani journalist Ahmed Rashid believes that the destruction of crops and infrastructure will lead to food riots. He believes that "joblessness and helplessness will lead to more young men joining the militants, who are propagating the idea that the floods are God's wrath against the government ... All of this will dramatically loosen the state's control over outlying areas, in particular those bordering Afghanistan, which could be captured quickly by local Taliban," leaving Pakistan as "a failed state with nuclear weapons."

    Where do Pakistani women fit into this view of the future? Let's look at their past first. While they are better off than many in the Muslim world and have benefited from progressive gender policies over recent decades, they still have at best a 36 percent literacy rate. TheInternational Labor Force Survey of 1991-92 reported that only about 16 percent of women age 10 form part of the official workforce, a figure that may have doubled since then. In rural areas, it is estimated that around 80 percent of women are engaged in farming. Twenty-four percent of the population lives below the poverty level, including the majority of families headed by women.

    More rain may be on the way. But when the floodwaters recede, what is next for already unstable, nuclear-armed Pakistan? It is hard to identify any silver lining in the storm clouds darkening the Hindu Kush. Peter Walker, head of the Feinstein International Centre at Tufts University and founder of the World Disasters Report, says:

    The immediate flooding has wiped out the asset base of millions of people, so they face a future where they have to refinance and build homes, clear debris-covered land (assuming it has not been washed away), restock shops and market stalls, re-equip small businesses, etc, etc. And all this in towns where the schools, clinics, courts, police stations all need rehabilitating. We know that Pakistan is likely to lose at least one year's good production, and may see food-production levels lowered for the next few years because of the combined effects of soil erosion, destroyed irrigation, and contaminated soil. Then we have the army as the only really effective state institution, and an insurgency, and foreign interest in Pakistan's politics. So, will the floods lead to a possible famine like situation next year? Will this be enough to topple the government, and will they be replaced by a military government? It is this complexity and propensity for one crisis to tip into another that makes Pakistan today one of the most devastating disasters.

    So who will come out the winner in the coming power struggle? One thing is for certain already: It won't be Pakistani women.

  • purplesofa
  • leavingwt

    Still, the United States will have spent nearly $5 billion in civilian assistance by the end of the year, and that money is supposed to buy goodwill.
    By almost all accounts, it hasn't. Although the United States has received praise here for its speedy response to the summer's catastrophic floods, Pakistanis remain suspicious of American motives. In the Pew poll, nearly six in 10 Pakistanis described the United States as an enemy; only one in 10 called it a partner.

  • hamsterbait

    What are all the mega rich sultanates doing to help ther Muslim Brothers.

    WHY are the women at risk from sexual assault from their muslim brothers.

    If they mistrust Americas motives, they shouldnt be accepting the help. This is one big mouth that will turn round and bite the hand that fed it.

    What did the Muslim world do to help the victims of Katrina? Did the Sheikhs and sultans lift a finger?

    I do remember a mullah claiming it was proof of Gods wrath on America. They will not think that the West has impressive Christian values of Charity and compassion after this. They already see westerners as fools for helping their enemies.

    It is a dire situation. The nuclear bit has been subsidised by the west, and enabled becasue foreign aid means they spend less of their money on what really matters.

    I dont think this will change the ideas of pakistanis. The Black Death did nothing to change the attitudes of medieval europe.

    I feel great anguish and pity.

    Whatever happens is the will of Allah. God is great.


  • sammielee24

    I think the low dollar response is due to so many factors...not excluding the economic depression so many people already feel themselves in most countries around the world.

    Add to that - the BP oil spill in the USA; the Russian deaths and suffering of so many people there from what appears to be the radiation contaminants and other toxins that are burning all over that country; the rape of 200 women and baby boys in the Congo - up to the beheading of a young albino girl in Africa and well - give a hefty dose of corruption and I get the feeling people are just burned out by so much crap going on in so many places around the world all at once. It's as if people have just said 'enough'....and hunkered down to take care of their own business and let the world leaders worry about the politics.

    One hundred years ago countries did not have access to immediate news coverage of tragedy around the world and so, the most pressing events to solve were the ones in their own countries. Now it's non stop and sometimes people have to put the brakes on for their own mental stability.

    There is speculation from some in Pakistan, that some of the poorer villages and farmland have been purposely flooded by diverting the water, in order to maintain the wealthy farmers and their land. One can only hope that this is not true ---- sammieswife

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