Pakistan: Organizations Offering Assistance
August 19, 2010
(The following incorporates material from a blog post written last week by Katrina Brown, reference librarian at the Foundation Center-Washington, D.C.)
Indus River flooding on a scale not seen in generations has inundated a swath of Pakistan roughly the size of Austria, Switzerland, and Belgium, creating what many experts are calling the worst humanitarian disaster in decades. The United Nations, which is urging donor governments, international aid organizations, and foundations to provide $460 million for flood relief efforts, estimates that 1,600 people have died, 300,000 homes have been destroyed, 200,000 cattle have perished, and 2.6 million acres of crop land are underwater. While the overwhelmed government of Pakistan estimates that 20 million people -- one in nine Pakistanis -- have been affected and are in need of immediate assistance, efforts to bring relief to those in need have been hampered by continuing rains and widespread damage to roads and bridges.
After visiting the flood-ravaged country last week, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon had this to say:
I will never forget the destruction and suffering I have witnessed today. In the past I have visited the scenes of many natural disasters around the world, but nothing like this. The scale of the disaster is so large -- so many people, in so many places, in so much need. These unprecedented floods demand unprecedented assistance. The flood waves must be matched by waves of global support....
Governments and organizations that have stepped up with support for the millions displaced by the flooding include the United States ($150 million), Saudi Arabia ($100 million), the European Union ($90 million), the United Kingdom ($48.5 million), Canada ($32 million), Australia ($21.6 million), Japan ($13.2 million), Denmark ($10.5 million), Turkey ($10 million), the Islamic Development Bank ($11.2 million), the Open Society Foundations ($5 million), the American Red Cross ($1 million), and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation ($700,000).
Still, support from the international donor community and individuals in developed countries has been tepid, leading Joanne Fritz, on her Nonprofits Blog, to speculate about the reasons why.
I have my own thoughts about why individual donors in developed countries -- Americans, espcially -- are finding it hard to dig into their pockets for Pakistan, but I'll save them for another post. I do think a humanitarian disaster of the magnitude we are seeing in Pakistan demands something more than expressions of sympathy, and I plan to make a donation to flood-relief efforts there when I get home. In the meantime, if you'd like to donate, here's a list of humanitarian organizations and multilateral agencies with people on the ground.
- CARE is supporting health teams, mobile clinics, and the distribution of emergency supplies.
- CHF International is focusing its efforts on repairing roads and irrigation systems and helping to reduce the extensive damage done by the massive silting of agricultural land in the floods. Text PAKISTAN to 50555 to donate $5.
- Direct Relief International is sending medical aid to support the emergency response to the extensive flooding.
- Doctors Without Borders has sent tons of water and sanitation equipment, drugs, and medical materials into Pakistan.
- International Rescue Committee is offering assistance to victims in areas affected by the worst of the flooding.
- Islamic Relief USA workers are helping in the evacuation effort, administering aid, and helping serve thousands of flood victims.
- Oxfam staff are on the ground in Pakistan, providing rescue services and emergency water purification.
- Pakistan Red Crescent Society is working with the International Federation of Red Cross to provide some 35,000 affected households with food, drinking water, health care, and other non-food relief items.
- UNICEF is providing desperately needed food, clean water, and health supplies to assist the six million children affected by the floods.
- United Nations Refugee Agency is providing flood victims with shelter and emergency supplies. Text "SWAT" to 50555 to donate $10.
- World Food Programme is working to provide food aid to two million flood victims by August 20, around a third of the total number of people estimated to require emergency food assistance. Text AID to 27722 to donate $10.
A list of other organizations assisting with relief efforts is available from InterAction, the largest alliance of U.S.-based international nongovernmental organizations working to help the world's poorest and most vulnerable people.
(Photo credit: New York Daily News)
-- Mitch Nauffts (with contributions from Katrina Brown and Regina Mahone)