Over the past months Pakistan has been hit by unprecedented floods, the worst in living memory, and perhaps the worst floods in history. More than twenty million people have been uprooted and over 2,000 died along the broad plains along the river delta, starting in the mountains. This is has impacted the lives of more people than the Indian Ocean tsunami, Haiti’s earthquake and the 2005 Kashmir earthquake combined.
The damage has been enormous: whole villages washed away, roads and bridges broken and cut off, immense loss to agriculture, industry, infrastructure and services. Millions of people lost their homes and livelihoods. In addition to all the other damage the floods have caused, floodwaters have destroyed much of the health care infrastructure in the worst-affected areas, leaving inhabitants especially vulnerable to water-borne diseases.
A massive international effort is ongoing since August, providing emergency medical care, distributing food, water and shelter, and helping to rebuild Pakistan’s shattered infrastructure. Even so, almost 1.5 million people are still homeless, while 800,000 people have been cut off by floods and are only reachable by air. More than 70 per cent of Pakistan's population doesn’t have adequate access to proper nutrition, and food shortages will only increase.
The situation is still at a crisis point. Aid agencies are doing all they can on the ground to reach people, but support is necessary for this work to continue. As an EWI board member, I am proud of the Institute’s commitment to humanitarian causes. In fact, they are at the root of its work for a safer and more stable world. Everybody committed to EWI’s efforts may therefore wish to support the millions left fighting to survive with little food, clean water or shelter.
Donations can be made to the reliable organizations listed below. I also stand ready to forward any assistance to responsible and effective local organizations that will ensure help gets to those really affected. You can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Ikram Sehgal is a Board Member of the EastWest Institute.