Pakistan

Allow me to snag a moment of your day to remind you of an ongoing news event this past month.

The flooding in Pakistan.


(AP photo, via The Big Picture)

Not being in the United States right now, I can’t really gauge what the response has been. However, the minimal news coverage and occasional headline along the lines of “UN seeks to boost Pakistan flood aid response” lead me to believe that the world has not grasped the gravity of the situation.

How is it that in January the Haitian earthquake was on everyone’s lips and touching everyone’s pocket?

Not to be insensitive to the horrendous pain of surviving family members and friends, although there were far more casualties in Haiti (230,000+ lives), it seems the survivors should be the focus of statistics. In which case Haiti’s 1 million homeless is dwarfed by the number of homeless in in Pakistan, which ranges from 12 million to 20 million.

Perhaps my keen interest is a byproduct of having recently read Three Cups of Tea, which vividly depicts a world in Pakistan eager for education and development.
If not for my gender, religion, or nationality, I would want to go to Pakistan to do what I could by way of serving and helping those who have lost their homes and livelihoods and now face the risk of cholera.

I want to support a Christian organization that will – to whatever extent possible – not only address the physical and emotional needs of the community, but support the church in flooded areas as it regroups. Churches Helping Churches has not yet discerned their involvement. I have contacted a Pastor of the church I attended in Seattle to see if he is aware of any organizations. Via this (highly recommended!) article, I discovered UNICEF and their laudable mission to reach out to displaced children.

A repeated thread throughout the conversation on the flood and its widespread effects is the footnote that if others don’t step in, the Jihadi organizations will.

My knowledge of Middle East relations is comparatively quite small, and I think with the current state of international affairs, it’s next to impossible for me to have a truly accurate picture. All the same, it frustrates me that politics are probably interfering with the sending of aid. Whether politics on our end or the Pakistani government. America (or the mass media) seems to have grown weary of all the drama in that part of the world, and maybe that’s why the story isn’t pushed as much as Haiti was. Or maybe it is out there, maybe governments and organizations are working together. Maybe we as people are simply failing to rise and meet this opportunity to help so many people in desperate need of assistance.

It’s true; there are disasters constantly. There will always remain people who are incapable of rescuing themselves – some of them across the world, others across the street. Barring the exceptional presence of a billionaire on my blog, you and I don’t have the resources to help in every situation. Maybe there are other issues you feel to be more pressing, and I won’t argue your passions. But in this age of information and the internet, the lack of knowledge is not an excuse.

Regardless whether the world’s response to the devastation in Pakistan prompts or thwarts the furtherance of terrorist cells in the Middle East, I believe the response will make history, as will the reasons we chose to respond the way we did.

A couple more articles, if you’re interested

NYT – Floods Could Have Lasting Impact for Pakistan
NYT – U.S. Offers Aid to Rescue Pakistanis and Reclaim Image
US Embassy in Pakistan – FACT SHEET U.S. Response to Pakistan’s Flooding Disaster
Guardian – Impact of Pakistan floods as bad as 1947 partition, says prime minister

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