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Pakistan is still in an extremely vulnerable situation even six months after flooding first occurred affecting over 18 million people in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Sindh, Punjab and Balochistan regions. Oxfam recently released a report on the current state of Pakistan that I highlight here:
…although Pakistan’s floods are the biggest emergency of recent times with more than 18 million people affected, the funding for the response has been woefully slow. The UN appeal for $2bn to rebuild Pakistan remains only 56 percent funded. (AlertNet)
In the wake of recent severe flooding in Brazil, Sri Lanka and the Philippines which have resulted in hundreds of deaths, the general news media seem unable to comprehend the full scale of these disasters and how they affect people’s lives. In some ways the media increase the gap between those affected and those who are simply unfamiliar with experiencing disasters of this sort by not revealing the context of these situations. The fact that just over half of the budget recommended by the UN appeal has been met is news indeed that so much more can be done in assisting communities with the tragedies they face now and to help them to prepare for what challenges may lie ahead in the future. Read more
A website uses the Ushahidi Platform to map reports from people in Pakistan affected by flooding and whether they are in need of emergency aid such as clean water or shelter. Anyone in Pakistan can send an SMS from their location to report on hazards in their area. Their report is then mapped along with others using Google maps. While using SMS messaging to inform volunteers, government and others about hazards happening on the ground is limited to some degree, there is no doubt that it can play a role in ensuring that others receive help who are unable to communicate in any other way. Of course this also depends on whether they have a mobile phone or other means of sending texts as well, which during many hazards, such as flooding, electronic devices are often destroyed. Read more
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. Read more