You Oughta Know: Pakistani flood catostrophic

By By Amna Farooqi, News Editor

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Pakistan has experienced severe flooding since July which has left over 2,000 people dead, millions of homes destroyed, over 17 million acres of fertile crops submerged, and over 21 million people homeless and stranded.

The worst flood in 80 years, the disaster has caused more damage than the Haiti earthquake, the 2004 tsunami and the 2005 Kashmir earthquake combined.

According to an Aug. 13 International Red Cross press release, this is a disaster of “unimaginable proportions,” and millions of people are solely reliant on emergency aid from outside the country.

Many relief workers are worried that the lack of resources and aid will lead to outbreaks of gastroenteritis, cholera and other waterborne diseases as a result of dirty drinking water. There is also a lack of supplies, since many of those displaced have not received any aid due to limited access to those stranded.

According to a statement released by the secretary general of the UN, Ban Ki-Moon, it will take several years for Pakistan to realize the full extent of the damage that the floods have brought upon the country, and immediate action is necessary.

The New York Times reported that the US has donated $87 million, sent 19 helicopters and pledged more in the future. Several fundraisers in the local community have also contributed generous amounts.

The Islamic Center of Maryland (ICM), a mosque in Gaithersburg, raised $98,000 and a World Bank fundraiser held for the Pakistani community raised $125,000.

However, despite donations from relief groups and countries around the world, the response to the Pakistan flood has been different from the Haiti earthquake. Through texting on mobile phones, the American Red Cross raised $31 million for Haiti, but has managed to raise about only about $10,000 for the flood victims.

Students can help the victims in several ways, including donating $10 by texting “SWAT” to number 50555 and contributing to charities such as the Red Cross and Save the Children. There will also be a fundraiser held at the University of Maryland Baltimore Campus Oct. 11.