Pakistan: Eleven weeks on, millions still in need

Eleven weeks ago the most devastating floods in decades hit Pakistan, laying waste to vast swathes of its territory, destroying crops and homes and livelihoods and futures. Now further flooding has exacerbated an already critical situation in some areas of the country. As for funding, only a third of what is needed has been received or pledged (which in many cases never arrives).

41917.jpegAccording to the UN's Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), two billion USD has been requested to help attenuate the effects of the worst flooding Pakistan has experienced for a century. 667 million USD have been received, only one third of the total amount in a world where hundreds of billions of dollars are spend on illegal wars and weaponry.

Even before the floods struck in mid-August, the UNO was already providing emergency assistance to 1.1 million people displaced through conflict or needing relief assistance, in a country already hosting 1.7 million Afghanrefugees, which according to the UNO is the largest refugee population in the world. Added to these 2.8 million people come tens of millions of flood victims.

In Sindh province, flooding continues today and ten million of the region's 30 million population are affected as Manchar Lake reaches bursting point and overflows, sending hundreds of thousands more people to refugee camps and bolstering the 1.1 million people in the province flooded out of their homes.

10,000 schools were damaged or destroyed during the flooding. Over a million homes were swept away. Over 2,000 people were killed, 20 million displaced, 15.4 million people have been left destitute; 8 million are in need of life-saving assistance. 200,000 heads of livestock were lost, along with one million acres of agricultural land and 2 billion USD in crops. Bridges, roads and lines of communication have disappeared. Disease is stretching an already creaking public health system to the limits. The death toll is rising daily.

The area still under water is the size of the State of Virginia(USA), England, Italy or Japan.

Severe damage to crops and the land will create food insecurity for millions for years to come. Yet how is it possible that only a third of the funding needed has arrived, when billions are wasted every year on killing, on destruction, on useless pursuits like gambling, drug consumption and other addictions, while mankind, having passed the threshold of the third millennium, continues to be pitifully unable to set his house in order?

The OCHA provides transparent information for those who wish to help on how their funds will be applied and used.

Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey



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Author`s name Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey