The United Nations has rated the floods in Pakistan as the greatest humanitarian crisis in recent history with more people affected than the South-East Asian tsunami and the recent earthquakes in Kashmir and Haiti combined.
“Look at her,” Mussamat Islam Jatoi, said while holding her 2-month-old baby girl covered with sores. “She is already dead,” 20-year-old relative Arbab Jatoi chimes in matter of factly. No one disputes him.
Shehnela is lethargic and she rarely opens her kohl-smeared eyes. No one knows what is wrong with her.
This article in The Star sharing personal accounts of those affected by the floods in Pakistan left me in tears. As aid agencies are remarking at how slow funds are coming in, Canadians are being urged to stop dragging their heels and open up their wallets. Politicians and aid agencies have resorted to highlighting this disaster by comparing it to other terrible disasters — in an attempt to qualify and quantify the suffering.
Yes it’s bad. It is very, very bad there. They’re dying slowly. And there is no where to go. No shelter. Water everywhere, but none of it is clean. Crops destroyed. Land ruined. Just when you think you can salvage something from your home, it rains again. And you hear whisperings of aid, but none of it has come yet. And when it does, you find yourself sharing your meager sack of flour (which needs water to make anything with BTW) with the other 49 members of your family.
“There is nothing left. There is nothing to eat, no place to live, it’s just water, water. The people are helping each other. There isn’t any aid from the government; there isn’t any aid from anyone else. A few helicopters came; they gave us a few things to eat, but not enough for an entire household. They brought their cameras and took photos so they could show the world they are giving aid. But there is no aid. Everyone is just surviving on the clothes on their backs. There is nothing left here.”
That’s one theory anyway. Another is that disaster-free, affluent people are just sick of giving. And because there has yet to be a telethon, rockathon, grab-every-movie-star-and-singer-athon to highlight the absolute terrible reality that people are facing every day; because the Silver Fox isn’t rescuing little girls (yet); because Fox News is more interested in a jihadist culinary school than covering 4 million homeless; because of November elections and precariously standing Senators; because Pakistan is a Muslim country that harbours al-Qaeda when they’re not training terrorists; because Pakistan is a developed country with nukes (video), people just don’t want to give.
At least, this is what is being discussed in the news.
So while it saddened me to read the personal accounts of the people (and family friends!) suffering in Pakistan, it was actually refreshing to not delve into the politics behind donor fatigue.