Tragedy strikes Pakistan

by Saad Khan on 1st September, 2010 at 10:13 AM CEST

While I visited Slovenia for the summit in May, I was preparing a speech related to climatic changes in Asia with the focus prone more towards my own country, Pakistan. Little did I know that as I speak about the transformations in climate, nature is planning the worst flood for my country.

Photo by: Giro555 with creative commons license

The data is large enough to be wholly mentioned in my little urge for help but some figures are as follows:

The death toll has risen above 1600 people. The toll is anticipated to rise to 3000. Around 14 million people have been internally displaced and have lost their properties and are in need of shelter and food. Out of the displaced people around 6 million is child population and approximately 3 million females. These figures are even superior to the 2005 tsunami statistics, according to UN humanitarian coordination office. Roads and railway tracks are severely damaged hence making contact with those trapped very intricate and complicated. Relief and rescue work at the same time is also hampered by the constant downpour of rain in the already effected areas. The constant lashing by the torrential rains is making the entire process very time consuming and that is the one of the many commodities we are short of at the moment. Those who have some how managed to find dry land are experiencing epidemics and diseases. Proper shelter, food supplies, medicines, clean drinking water etc are the needed by these people on urgent basis. The response from the international community has been slow, although efforts and aid is being sent by nations across the globe. The UN has been apt at helping along with the Army and other NGOs.

Photo by: United Nations Development Programme with Creative Commons Licence

The loss of life kept aside, the poor people have lost homes, lands and their very means of earning a living. As you all would be aware that Pakistan is an agriculture nation and most of the rural population grows crops and earn a living, the floods have had a devastating impact on the crop produce. 300,000 homes have been destroyed according to an estimate by the Pakistani Flood Commission and an approximate 105,000 sq. km of crop land is submerged under water.

My nation faces a very harsh and unpleasant time at the moment. On behalf of my fellow country men, I would request all of you to please step forward and help us in any way possible. You can donate in any manner and your help would be valued. For direct monetary donations you can visit http://www.oxfam.org/en/content/donate. Oxfam also receives other types of donations, please check their website for details. Your generosity will be much appreciated.


This C:F member story is written by Saad Khan. Click here to share your story with Challenge:Future. 

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loenneke  torn

loenneke torn

Saad, this is truly worrying - I hope that Pakistan will recover with the help of other nations. It seems that catastrophes of unprecedented scale are shaking our Earth every month now. What did we do to our planet?

1st September, 2010 @ 1:08 PM CEST

Dan Croitoru

Dan Croitoru

Thank you very much Saad for sharing. The numbers are unbelievable. I must admit I can only imagine the proportions of this disaster. And again we come across the problem of countries' slow reaction. Too many procedures, too much birocracy. I hope things will start moving and that Pakistan will have a fast recovery.

As you said Kaan, there are many ways we can help (checked the link you gave us): let people know about this, donate, volunteer work or even sharing ideas. Every effort counts in the end so for sure I'm going to help.

1st September, 2010 @ 2:01 PM CEST

Saad Khan

Saad Khan | Action team | CF Chapters

yes we are already on the volunteer work. Everyone is up and ready for any help they can provide. The youth here also has played a far more important role then was expected of them so i guess that also tells us what the youth is capable of and what the youth can achieve if their energies are harnessed in the right manner. Nonetheless we are spreading the word and the response so far has been great. And I would also want to thank C:F for helping us out in the regard :)

1st September, 2010 @ 3:13 PM CEST

Saad Khan

Saad Khan | Action team | CF Chapters

loenneke indeed you are right. and now its time to move on from the question what we have done to how to stop what we are doing and how to cope up with what we have done? I suppose if we do not follow that strategy soon we all will have to face the consequences. As Ruben said in his speeches during the summit that Nature is healing itself on its own now and their will be damages. i just hope they arent sever enough and we find out a way to handle things before they really get out of hands.

1st September, 2010 @ 3:17 PM CEST

Kayode Nubi

Kayode Nubi | Action team | CF Chapters

Still Wiping the tears off Haiti's eyes
Still Waiting to see China's water dry
Still Hoping to drink from the Gulf
Then on Pakistan, nature struck

Who is to blame I wonder?
Nature or man's action to plunder?
My pen I'd have to drop on paper
For now, In search to be a helper

>> For Pakistan <<

2nd September, 2010 @ 3:09 PM CEST

Sayanee Basu

Sayanee Basu | Action team | CF Chapters

@Nubi: This is such a touching poem for Pakistan and many of the region's which are recovering from other natural causes.

I heartily hope that Pakistan will get its speedy help from the international community.

2nd September, 2010 @ 3:33 PM CEST

Andreja Kodrin (C:F Management)

Andreja Kodrin (C:F Management) | Action team | CF Chapters

@ Saad - it would be very interesting to hear the opinion from Ruben....

@Nubi - it seems that we have such great talent among CF that we should run the poetry competition as well!

2nd September, 2010 @ 4:36 PM CEST

sara omar

sara omar

i read..
i analyzed..
i agreed..
and i help.

2nd September, 2010 @ 4:43 PM CEST

sara omar

sara omar

Climate change may not be the only cause of Pakistan's woes. There is also a sense that the current floods have been exacerbated by the way the Indus has been managed.

In the UK, flood risk is reduced by building levees (embankments) along vulnerable part of rivers. These barriers prevent them from bursting their banks in extreme floods. It is a system that has served well for generations.

But Pakistan's rivers are different.

UK rivers carry very little sand and mud. In contrast, the Indus is choked with sediment eroding off the Himalayas. Building levees causes the river channel to silt up.

This has the unexpected effect of making Pakistan's rivers prone to even bigger floods when the levees eventually break.

"What we've done is apply a system from the West that just doesn't work [in South Asia]," said Professor Sinha.

That problem has been made worst by deforestation. Trees protect the headwaters from erosion. But over the past half century, more sediment has been flushed down the rivers as forests have been cut.

2nd September, 2010 @ 7:36 PM CEST

Faisal Tahir

Faisal Tahir

The floods have ravished an already bleeding nation. It seems we walk from one crisis to another. From the earthquakes to terrorism to sectarian violence to target killings and now the flood.

While i agree the reasons for the current predicament Pakistan finds itself in are varied, climate change did play a large role. boxed-in with highly industrialized and fast growing nations such as China and India was bound to take its toll on the environment and lack of planning and apprehension of this change has lead the Government astray.

Things which were considered acceptable in the past, such as deforestation and deferment of building DAMs for decades are no longer to be taken lightly.

Our focus should, first and foremost, be on helping the displaced people get back to some semblance of normal life and after that the Government needs to take a good hard look at its administration of the crises and devise a disaster management policy based on ground realities and involve all stakeholders in the process.

3rd September, 2010 @ 9:59 AM CEST

Sayanee Basu

Sayanee Basu | Action team | CF Chapters

@Sara: Excellent thoughts! Climate is indeed connected in so many ways and it know no national boundaries. Like you very rightly pointed out the links with deforestation.

@Faisal: Your thoughts have really made me think once again... what is that one thing the helping community ca do for the flood victims: It is to help the displaced people move back to normalcy as fast as possible.

3rd September, 2010 @ 11:14 AM CEST

Aneeqa Tariq Sheikh

Aneeqa Tariq Sheikh

Besides affecting 3.2 million people the devastating floods have also washed off trees. Standing crops on thousands of acres have been wiped. Fresh water supplies have been contaminated by flood waters, breakout of water-borne disease like cholera, badly damaged canal systems that are the only water supply for majority of farm areas, power failures, telecommunication disruptions and roads and bridges have been the worse hit. affected areas are only accessible by helicopters hovering above water as they have no place to land.!

But whats more worse is that they dunt know where to go. those rescued by helicopters ask, after thanking the military efforts, " why are u leaving us here. where are the tents. where are the supplies? "

they are afraid as they know that it will take decades to restore infrastructure in their regions and they are angry. people have lost everything. they dunt even have any hope or source of restarting their lives again.

4th September, 2010 @ 2:57 AM CEST

Saad Khan

Saad Khan | Action team | CF Chapters

@ aneeqa we all can help and your analysis is precise and correct. they do need help and guidance and they do need shelter. with the winters coming ahead, the situations going to get worse. ask people around you and your friends to participate in any kind of relief work they can.
@ all remember the question to be asked is what will e do for our brothers or sisters if they would have been in a situation like this? and then you might be able to stand up and make a difference :)

5th September, 2010 @ 10:18 PM CEST

Aneeqa Tariq Sheikh

Aneeqa Tariq Sheikh

@ Saad i have been participating actively in the relief work, collecting donations, buying food n stuff for them all, packing them and then again literally begging people on streets for donations. And we are getting great help. people r kind enough to donate clothes and dry food packs etc. though the situation is deteriorating day by day but we are trying as hard we can. bw i like your article.

6th September, 2010 @ 7:13 AM CEST

Dharmesh Bhadja

Dharmesh Bhadja | Action team

the challenge future as a platform and the future book also provide the best media to me to know my neighbor saad...

i am dharmesh from India... and now i know there are many other big issues to resolve together not only Kashmir...

thanks to saad

28th October, 2010 @ 10:55 PM CEST

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