1) Two pictures from the Net today, reflecting the gap between those who have and those who don’t.
Which group do you think is growing faster?
a. From the Christian Science Monitor Daily Photo slide-show of Aug 18th:
A Syrian vendor displays sweets during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan at al-Midan market in Damascus, Syria, on Wednesday. Muslims around the world abstain from eating, drinking and conducting sexual relations from sunrise to sunset during Ramadan, the holiest month in the Islamic calendar.
One of the most upsetting picture I have seen in a long time. No words are adequate.
Sindh, Pakistan: A young girl whose family lost their home in the devastating floods sleeps on the ground in a refugee camp
2) In answer to my question:
Pakistan flood aid is nowhere near the billions needed to deal with a calamity that’s swept through Pakistan, wiped out crops in the agricultural heartland, and affected some 20 million people.
a. Today’s headline from the Pakistani newspaper The Dawn:
“Nearly half the $459 million needed for initial relief in Pakistan’s worst ever floods has been secured after days of lobbying donors and warnings that the country faces a spiralling humanitarian catastrophe, the United Nations said on Wednesday.
But despite the fresh funds, only a fraction of the six million Pakistanis desperate for food and clean water have received help after the worst floods in decades killed up to 1,600 people and left two million homeless.
“There has been an improvement in funding. Donors are realising the scale of the disaster,” UN spokesman Maurizio Giuliano told Reuters. “But the challenges are absolutely massive and the floods are not over.”
“The size of (the area affected by) this disaster is equivalent to Austria, Switzerland and Belgium combined. That’s pretty scary.”
A few days ago, only a quarter of aid pledged had been received, prompting UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on a visit to Pakistan to urge foreign donors to speed up funding and avert more deaths.
So far, food rations and access to clean water have only been provided to around 700,000 flood survivors, the UN said.
Children most vulnerable
The damage and cost of recovery could shave more than one percentage point off economic growth, analysts say. Pakistan’s High Commissioner to Britain, Wajid Shamsul Hasan, said the cost of rebuilding could reach up to $15 billion.
Hundreds of villages are isolated, highways and bridges have been cut in half by floods and hundreds of thousands of cattle — the livelihoods of many villagers — have drowned.
The United Nations has warned that up to 3.5 million children could be in danger of contracting deadly diseases carried through contaminated water and insects in a crisis that has disrupted the lives of at least a tenth of Pakistan’s 170 million people.
“Who will treat her? The doctors said she has a hole in the wall of her heart,” said Bakhmina Said, whose one-year-old Naeema slept on a mat in sweltering heat at a fly-infested camp in northwestern Pakistan.
She had no fan, no chance of seeing a cardiologist anytime soon and at risk of catching other potentially fatal diseases in cramped, un-hygienic conditions.
UN Food and Agriculture Organisation says Pakistan could face food shortages if its farmers miss the sowing season which is due to start next month.
Some flood victims blocked highways to demand government help and villagers clashed with baton-wielding police on Tuesday after opposition leader Nawaz Sharif tried to distribute relief in Sindh.
b. From an editorial in Pakistan’s Daily Times, by Dr Manzur Ejaz:
“In the long run, the Pakistani people have to rise above their petty personal interests and start looking for common societal goals. Lessons should be learnt from the disasters Pakistan has been facing for the last few decades. From terrorism to floods, Pakistan is suffering because of a lack of collective consciousness and indifference to the basic rules of self-preservation. The ruling elite must learn to establish good governance if Pakistan is to survive. Basically, Pakistan has to be reinvented. No one said it would be easy, but there is no other way.”
3) Natural disasters will continue to occur, just as they always have. There is also no question that global warming, the highest since records have been keep, 1880, will likely result in dramatic climate changes, more hurricanes, floods, etc, than we are currently prepared to deal with.
As far as I can tell most governments seem to think just talking, and setting goals no one really is committed to keep, will make the problem go away. It seems to me most Americans would just prefer to stick their heads in the sand.
August 13th press release from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
“Second Warmest July and Warmest Year-to-Date Global Temperature on Record”
We know what the answers are, change how use and produce energy for one thing. I am not taking about survival. Some will be better prepared and thrive. I am talking about the amount of pain future generations will have to suffer because of our inaction.