Photo: Oxfam International

Take Action: Pakistan Flood and How You Can Help

Pakistan News
by Melissa Clark Aug 20, 2010
What started as normal rain on July 29 during the region’s annual monsoon season has now become the worst flooding that Pakistan has experienced in the last 80 years.

So far, the flooding has left between 1,400 and 1,600 people dead and 20 million more people affected by the floods are without proper shelter, food, or clean water to drink.

In a BBC news article discussing flooding in Pakistan, Daniel Toole of UNICEF said, “It is probably the biggest emergency on the planet today.” According to the latest data, 900,000 homes have already been destroyed from the flooding and one-fifth of Pakistan is submerged. Some of the people displaced from their homes are now living in temporary tents or community buildings; others have no place to go and are sleeping under the stars.

The UN Office for Humanitarian Affairs has already identified at least one case of cholera and an additional 36,000 cases of diarrhea. Without clean water to drink, it’s not so much a question of if but when many more people in the flooded region fall ill. According to CNN, the United Nations fears that 6 million people, the majority of whom are children and infants, are in danger of catching diseases that are carried by contaminated water resulting from a shortage of aid money.

How Relief Organizations Are Helping

Here are some global organizations helping with the relief efforts:

The American Red Cross was founded in 1881 and still operates today. It offers humanitarian aid to victims of war-torn areas as well as to victims of natural disasters, both on a local and global scale. So far, the American Red Cross has committed $1 million to families in Pakistan who are affected by the flooding.

Oxfam International is a relief confederation of organizations operating in 99 countries that fight poverty and injustice. So far, Oxfam’s efforts in Pakistan have provided clean water and hot food to 182,000 people. Oxfam has also provided 30 boats used in the evacuation of 80,000 people in flooded regions.

Hidaya Foundation, along with its Pakistani sister organization Hidaya Trust, are currently aiding in four locations in Pakistan with the help of more than 250 employees and volunteers. Since the flooding started, Hidaya has provided more than 64,000 cooked meals, over 80 tents, and over 1,800 clothing packages (along with other items), and those numbers continue to climb.

CCP (Concerned Citizens Society of Pakistan) is a non-partisan organization of volunteers who are committed to establishing the “rule of law” and helping to aid suffering of Pakistanis in any way possible. So far, CCP has donated a combined amount of over 3.5 million rupees (the equivalent of over $40,000 USD) worth of cash, food, tents, and rations. CCP’s short term goals include providing temporary shelter and food to those left homeless. Longer term, CCP’s goal is to raise 25 million rupees (the equivalent of over $291 million USD) by December in an effort to feed, provide medicines for, and clothe 500 families affected by the disaster.

UNHCR (Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) was established in 1950 by the United Nations General Assembly to assist with refugee-related issues. UNHCR has already begun to airlift supplies such as tents and mosquito nets to help flood victims.

Why You Should Help

The United Nations has said that the amount of people affected by the Pakistani floods could be more than the total number of people affected by the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, the 2005 earthquake in Kashmir, and the 2010 earthquake in Haiti — combined.

Homes weren’t the only things washed away or ruined by the flood. According to a BBC news article, the Crops Protection Association estimated the cotton crop loss at $1.8 billion. Agriculture officials estimate that another 17 million acres of farmland are submerged. Roads, bridges, and power and communication lines have also been damaged or washed away.

“Two million dollars are needed every day to provide water – this is not sustainable. We don’t have two million dollars a day,” UNICEF’s regional director, Daniel Toole, told BBC News.

People are suffering, and the region’s monsoon season is only halfway over. Water levels are expected to rise even higher as more rain falls.

How You Can Help

So what can you do? Donate now, and here’s how:

The American Red Cross is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization. Cash donations are tax deductible (in the United States), and you can donate online. According to the American Red Cross’s website, on average, 91 cents out of every dollar is used on humanitarian services and programs.

Oxfam is a non-profit 501(c)(3). Direct campaigns for the Pakistan floods are being run out of multiple Oxfam locations: Oxfam America, Oxfam Australia, Oxfam GB (Great Britain), Oxfam Germany, Oxfam Hong Kong, Oxfam New Zealand, Oxfam Novib (Netherlands), Oxfam Québec, and Intermon Oxfam (Spain). Visit the Oxfam website for more information on how to donate.

Hidaya Foundation is a non-profit 501(c)(3). All cash (and in-kind donations) are tax deductible (in the United States), and you can donate online. Funds received by Hidaya are wire transferred to Pakistan and go towards four programs and 30 projects. According to the Hidaya’s website, none of its funds are given to government agencies, and less than 2 percent of those funds are given to other non-profit organizations that help Hidaya.

CCP accepts monetary donations through direct deposit to a bank or by foreign remittance in USD, GBP, or Euros. Visit the CCP website for more information on how to donate.

UNHCR’s tasks are to protect refugees and resolve worldwide refugee issues. Only 2-3 percent of the UNHCR’s funds come from the United Nations; the remaining funds come from direct contributions. Donate online.

UNICEF is a non-profit 501(c)(3) global organization operating in over 150 countries for the betterment of children in the areas of: “health care, clean water, nutrition, education, emergency relief, and more.” Cash donations are tax deductible (in the United States), and you can donate online.

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