Heavy rains continue in northern Pakistan. The UN recently launched an appeal for $460 million USD for disaster relief efforts in Pakistan and also announced that the number of people suffering in Pakistan due to flooding could be more than the combined total of the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami, 2005 Kashmir earthquake and the 2010 Haiti earthquake combined. Although, one should note that there are far fewer casualties. Money is needed for basic necessities for survival such as food, water and medical supplies as millions of people are left with nothing as flood waters continue to flow south into India where many people’s homes have been destroyed or damaged.
A second wave of flooding could lead to extreme damage if current flood levels do not fall enough. The water level at Sukkur Barrage is now falling slowly, but there is concern this second wave of flooding still makes the city extremely vulnerable. According to the Pakistan Federal Flood Commission, ‘at least 1,294 people have been confirmed dead and 1,366 injured,’ based on a recent report, but during hazards of this scale it could be far more as there seems little sign that rains will stop based on current weather forecasts.
The Guardian’s datablog has information on aid pledged country by country. The UK has so far pledged the highest at $32,550,860 USD, making up just over a quarter of the funding globally, the US is next with 22,525,715 USD and the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) at 17,000,000 USD, but many other countries in Europe have chipped in as well as China.
This map — Weather Crisis 2010 — gives some idea of the current weather crisis and yes it is indeed a ‘crisis’ of a much greater scale than any economic crisis the world has ever experienced and this cannot be emphasised enough. Maybe the term ‘climate change’ is far too neutral after all. We are living in a climate crisis that has been induced by the toxic, polluting activities of a select number of people that is placed on the backs of millions who mostly live in developing countries. The awful truth is that maybe the so-called skepticism about climate change has little to do with challenging scientific certainty and more to do with people living in mostly rich, western, developed nations not accepting people living in developing countries as equals. If the world is to act on climate change genuinely it must take this important social factor into account, instead of pretending that such levels of discrimination do not exist; they most certainly do and have throughout history. Money helps people in need, but in the end actions that address climate change directly speak much louder than paper and ink ever could.