Bearing Witness: the Aftermath of the Indus Flood-Pakistan Flood Relief

Submitted by Genevieve Bleidner '13 on November 11, 2010

On November 8, 2010, a mostly student audience gathered in the Lower Level BCC for a talk by Rubina Shafi on the largely unpublicized Pakistan flood devastation which took place this past summer and has continued to affect nearly 20 million people. The event, co-sponsored in part by students and departments such as Politics, Religious Studies, Sociology & Anthropology, Catholic Studies, Asian Studies, Environmental Studies, among others, involved a Power Point presentation and discussion of the devastation of the Indus Flood of Nowshera, Pakistan.

The talk, titled “Bearing Witness: the Aftermath of the Indus Flood,” was aimed at spreading awareness and raising funds to help out the millions of people who are in a state of chaos due to this large scale natural disaster. Ongoing suffering and devastation has occurred due to the large-scale flooding of Pakistan. It is cited to be the largest national disaster of our generation as well as the largest national disaster in the United Nation’s 50-plus year history.

Over 1/5th of the country continues to be submerged under water, and as Pakistan is the 6th most populous nation in the world and nearly 60% of the nation live along the Indus river, there is a mass upheaval and displacement which has thus far gone largely untreated, with no managed care for many of the survivors. Along with the relocation of millions, the flood has affected farms, polluted the soil, killed off livestock, and has spread cholera and illness due to standing water.

There is hope, however, with help from students and volunteers who can donate time or money to the relief efforts, which are stretched thin due to lack of NGO attention. There is an estimated $30-40 billion dollar cost to reconstruct Pakistan, but every small piece brings reconstruction and stability to the devastated nation.

Leaving this event, I learned that there are many reputable and easy ways to help out, and it is easy to make a difference in the lives of many who are literally stranded in their own country. To lend a hand, please:

  • Text FLOOD to 27722 (Pakistan Relief Fund, by the US State Department)
  • Contact an international NGO such as Doctors without borders or IRC
  • Support well-vetted local NGOs such as RSP (Rural Support Programme)
  • Demand attention by the local media or local government to speak up and raise awareness of this largely unpublicized national disaster
  • Donate to Doctors Without Borders

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