One question that many people have been asking is ‘What is the best way to help those – now an estimated over 2.5 million Pakistanis – who have been affected by the recent torrential rains and floods in Pakistan?’
The most honest answer, I think, is that right now so much help and assistance is needed by so many that no matter how you help, and through whom, it will be a good thing and it will make the lives of at least some at least a little more bearable.
On behalf of all of our readers, we had earlier send a first donation from ATP to Edhi Foundation and now are sending an additional donation, bringing the total to US$5,000. We realize this is a small amount and insignificant in light of the challenges, but we mention it here (a) because it comes from our Ad revenues and therefore from you, and (b) because we wish to reinforce the point that everyone should do whatever little they can, because every little bit counts.
A few readers and past donors have written to us asking that we should do a collection at ATP as be have done in the past (for cyclone victims, for earthquake victims, for IDPs, etc.). However, given how many other good avenues now exist we think it is better to just urge you to give wherever you can and whatever you can. More that that, we write today to ask you to please share with other readers what you think are good mechanisms to give through, good organizations to give to, and good ways to help the flood victims in Pakistan. We know that a number of our readers – Pakistanis and non-Pakistanis – will find this information very very useful, and we urge you to please help us catalog it so that it can help others, and through them help the flood victims.
According a list issued by the National Disaster Management Authority (NMDA), the key items required by flood affectees include (these can be sent to nearest PAF bases where arrangements have been made to get these to those in need):
- Dried milk for children and families
- High nutrition biscuits
- Food packets (tea, sugar, milk powder, vegetable oil, pulses, spices)
- Mineral water
- Water coolers
- Cooking utensils
- Footware for children
- Mosquito nets
- Floor matresses
- Hand towels
- Tooth paste
- Female sanitary pads
- Washing power and soap
- Mosquito repellents
- Prickly heat powder
- Children anti-rash creams
- Water purification tablets
- Candles and match boxes
The NMDA has also issued a list of assistance required from donors includes:
- Water filtration plats
- Dewatering pumps
- Medical equipment
- Hygiene kits
- Non-perishable food items.
As you think of this, my own take would be that it is important to find ways to support the immediate relief needs as well as the longer-range rehabilitation needs, including those related to lost livelihoods and disease.
At the most immediate level there are those who have lost their loved ones who need solace as well as support. There are those who have lost their homes who need shelter and sustenance. There are those who have (or will) loose their livelihoods who will need alternatives and options. The needs of the first two are most immediate and clearly should be a priority today. But the pain of the third group is going to be also profound and will linger over not just months but years. The number in the third group is also likely to be the largest and their needs are least likely to be served by conventional ‘relief’ efforts.
I say this not at all to distract from the pressing immediate needs of relief today and right now, but only to highlight that the challenges this water brings upon us are immediate, but also longer-range. Very large number of people will suffer long after the waters have receded. Especially as the loss to agriculture and crops and through disease and displacement begins to take its toll. If we are to ever respond to this challenge then we need to respond both to the immediate needs and the longer-range ones.
Luckily Pakistani as well as international relief agencies have already begun mobilizing in response. There are many lists and emails already being developed of good places to donate through and ways in which we can all help. As we have been doing, we urge you to help in whatever way you can, through whatever means you have, and via whatever organizations you trust. Give to whoever you think most highly of. But please do give.
Note: ATP itself has given to the Edhi Foundation, as we have before, because we believe our readers trust and respect it widely. There are, however, many other Pakistani as well as international organizations that are also going good – links to some of whom are provided in the pictures above. However, we do not endorse any particular organization and urge everyone to do whatever they can, through whoever they trust most.