Sunday, August 15, 2010

Why Are the Richest Muslim Countries "Missing in Action" in Pakistan's Flooding Disaster?

Pakistan Floods 2010 - Helpless and HelpersImage by Edge of Space via FlickrThe Islamic Republic of Pakistan is the world's sixth most-populous country. It is the second largest Muslim country in the world, after Indonesia.  The Human Development Indices of 2008 indicates that about 20% of the country's population live below the international poverty line of US$1.25.

According to the Guardian, the recent floods have decimated Pakistan: the number of people suffering could exceed 13 million - more than the combined total of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, the 2005 Kashmir earthquake and the 2010 Haiti earthquake. Let's pause and let that sink for a minute.The

Guardian has also broken down the contributions and pledges, country by country here, including the funding gaps.
Radio Free Europe on Sunday reported an update on the flooding:  "Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has said authorities now believe some 20 million people, or more than 10 percent of the country's population, have been affected by the floods, in what has become the worst humanitarian crisis in Pakistan's history."

UN officials have confirmed at least one case of the deadly water-borne disease cholera, in Mingora in the northwestern Swat Valley, while officials say other cases of the disease are suspected in flood-hit regions.  Cholera can lead to severe dehydration and death  (25-50% of typical cases are fatal) without prompt treatment.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is reported to visit the flood-devastated areas of Pakistan to review efforts to deliver food and shelter to millions of people. The United Nations has also appealed to international donors to provide at least $460 million to provide immediate relief to victims of the flooding.

Relief We
b has posted the following list of contributions to the Pakistan flooding. The original document is
located here.

If you scroll through the list above, you will note the following striking items:
  • Kuwait has made $5,000,000 in contribution to the Pakistan relief efforts.   
  • Turkey has contributed 105 tonnes of humanitarian aid (food parcels, Kitchen Sets, Blankets, Sleeping-bag,Sponge Beds,Sleeping-bag Mat, medicine, food,clothing ) and $1,133,380. 
  • United Arab Emirates has made separate contributions through three different channels in the amount of $20,027, $137,057 and $1,362,398 respectively.
Also, the country of Azerbaijan, number #19 in the list of Organization of Islamic Conference Member States with GDP  per capita (PPP) of $5,400 has made a pledge of $1,000,000.

But only three of the top ten richest OIC member states have forked out some help. Here is the list of the Top 10 Organization of Islamic Conference Member States by GDP  at purchasing power parity (PPP) per capita:

 United Arab Emirates
Saudi Arabia
What do you make of that?

Meanwhile, the United States flood assistance to Pakistan that started in July 29 has continued to-date to an approximate commitment of $71 million (updates available in English and Urdu here).  To combat possible disease outbreaks in flooded areas, the United States has also provided $3 million to WHO for the expansion of Pakistan's Disease Early Warning System (DEWS) nationwide and to establish the first 15 treatment centers for water-borne illness, located in high risk flood-affected areas.

In Lahore, the US Consulate General held a blood drive in collaboration with the Pakistan Red Crescent society participated by staff of the Consulate General and the Lahore American school. The Red Crescent Society said they are getting many requests for blood for women who have given birth in flood affected areas.

US ConGen Karachi met the USS Peleliu, currently positioned in international waters in the Arabian Sea (a ship we're slightly acquainted with) where 19 helicopters are assisting in delivering flood aid and assistance to the victims of the flooding disaster. Photos here.

Things are tough for a lot of folks but below are some quick ways to send help if you can:

Text the word "SWAT" to telephone number 50555 using your cell phone in the US.  The text will result in a donation of $10 to the U.N. High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) Pakistan Flood Relief Effort. Every $10 helps provide tents and emergency aid to displaced families.

Text AID to 27722 to give $10 the the World Food Programme USA, which transports food to flood victims in isolated communities

Text ZAKATUS to 50555 to donate $10 to the Zakat Foundation of America, which is providing food and clothing for flood survivors

More ways to help here through MGive.

In Pakistan, you can contribute to the Prime Minister's Fund for Flood Relief by texting the amount of your donation to 1234.

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