Aug. 28th, 2010

  • 12:36 PM
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More deaths feared in Pakistan as flood waters recede.

The death toll from Pakistan's massive flooding has climbed to 1,639, but the number could rise substantially as flood waters recede and more bodies surface, government officials say.

More than 17 million Pakistanis -- about the population of the Netherlands -- have been affected by the monsoon floods that began a month ago.

In the past few days, at least 1 million people have been displaced in Pakistan's Sindh province, the United Nations said. Authorities issued evacuation orders after a levee burst.


But the need for help is greatly outpacing the supply.

"The magnitude of this crisis is reaching levels that are even beyond our initial fears, which were already leaning toward what we thought would be the worst," Maurizio Giuliano, a spokesman for the U.N.'s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, said Friday. "The number of those affected and those in need of assistance from us are bound to keep rising. The floods seem determined to outrun our response."

The U.N. also said Friday that it is increasingly concerned about flood-driven malnutrition among children.

"The flooding has surrounded millions of children with contaminated water," said Karen Allen, deputy representative of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) in Pakistan. "Most have nothing else to drink. We fear the deadly synergy of waterborne diseases, including diarrhea, dehydration and malnutrition."

When the protests about Iran's elections happened, the world was paying attention, you know. As I remember [ profile] ew_younerd saying then, it was pretty telling that all of the West was so concerned about "bringing democracy" to Iran, maybe the picture they had of democracy was a very westernized one, but no one comments when imperialism massacres Muslim countries.

Now, it's not even Imperialism, it's a natural disaster.

And I have been wondering, a horrible thought to have. This is the biggest disaster in recent history. But you know, it's death toll, awful and huge as it is, is overshadowed by other recent disasters. I also remember the "disaster porn" that came with Haiti's earthquake. People love their Third World disasters to be all about death. As I said, an horrible thought to have, maybe people aren't that disgusting, maybe there are other explanations for this dismissal (probably a conjunction of things). But maybe they are.

Western press is all about death, even this CNN article's title is about death toll increasing. Since Westerners generally have trouble looking at non-westerners as people just like them, probably death is the best way to sell a new. After all, Pakistani people living in awful conditions is not that different from the general image Westerners have of developing countries. Peoples always living in awful conditions. Conditions that most Westerners have no idea about the dynamics of because they will never live them, but they just know that are supposed to be normal for poorer countries which are poorer because they are incompetent, and some Western white celebrity will com to aid anyway.

So you know, people are living in extremely awful conditions. The number of affected people who right now ARE suffering this tragedy way overcomes everything that has happened before. And yes, a lot more will die because of this, and if they don't die, the children will be sick, the women abused, there will be hunger, homelessness and diseases. Their quality of life is important.

[personal profile] azuire linked here to some orgs you can donate to. It's also pretty disgusting that she had to begin her post with, "I do not care what issues you have with corruption or terrorism or whatever. If you so much as bring these up in comments, I swear to God, even though I'm fasting, I WILL HUNT YOU DOWN AND PUNCH YOU IN THE FACE." So. I guess I'm not even underestimating people.

There is also [ profile] help_pakistan fandom's auction.

If you have organizations you trust, please comment and I will update this post.

ETA FOR CONCERN TROLLS: Apparently, I need to warn people that they shouldn't bring stupid arguments about how Westerners are the only one who are mighty enough to help Third Worlders in time on need. Because, do I need to point you how the Western World owns most of this world resources (and money) at the expense of other countries anyway (and before someone comes trolling some more, that also means getting their resources from other countries that can't use their own in the same way, boy this post isn't even about this shit)? Really? Also, I don't give a damn about The West crusade for recognition of its "activism." Or how rich China is. Also, you are banned.


yeah, i can't be here much

  • Aug. 25th, 2010 at 9:53 PM
la_vie_noire: (Default)
Why Doesn't the World Care About Pakistanis?

The United Nations has characterized the destruction caused by the floods in Pakistan as greater than the damage from the 2004 Asian tsunami, the 2005 Pakistan earthquake, and the 2010 Haiti earthquake combined. Yet nearly three weeks since the floods began, aid is trickling in slowly and reluctantly to the United Nations, NGOs, and the Pakistani government.


Why has the most devastating natural disaster in recent memory generated such a tepid response from the international community? Something of a cottage industry is emerging to try to answer this latest and most sober of international mysteries.

There is no shortage of theories. It's donor fatigue. It's Pakistan fatigue. It's because the Pakistani government is corrupt and can't be trusted. It's because the victims are Muslim. It's because people think a nuclear power should be able to fend for itself. It's because floods -- particularly these floods -- spread their destruction slowly, over a period of time, rather than instantaneously. It's because of the tighter budgets of Western governments. It's because of the lingering effects of the financial crisis.

There's a degree of truth to all these explanations. But the main reason that Pakistan isn't receiving attention or aid proportionate to the devastation caused by these floods is because, well, it's Pakistan. Given a catastrophe of such epic proportions in any normal country, the world would look first through a humanitarian lens. But Pakistan, of course, is not a normal country. When the victims are Haitian or Sri Lankan -- hardly citizens of stable, well-government countries, themselves -- Americans and Europeans are quick to open their hearts and wallets. But in this case, the humanity of Pakistan's victims takes a backseat to the preconceived image that Westerners have of Pakistan as a country.


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