Flooding in northwest Pakistan has stranded over 400,000 people and killed over 800. The death toll is rising.
Roads and bridges are washed out, leaving flood survivors without access to assistance and creating an enormous humanitarian crisis in one of the most important geopolitical regions of the globe.
From The Guardian:
In the Swat Valley, residents were forced to trudge through knee-deep water in some streets.
"A rescue operation using helicopters cannot be conducted due to the bad weather, while there are only 48 rescue boats available for rescue," he said today.
Pakistan's poorest residents are often the ones living in flood-prone areas because they can't afford safer land.
More after the jump.
CNN is reporting that the flooding is expected to continue as rains are forecasted in the northwest region of the country, including Kashmir, Punjab, Sindh, and Balochistan.
Perhaps I am just oversensitized to this kind of tragedy after the flash flooding in Nashville over the weekend of May 1st, when 300 homes in my neighborhood were destroyed and thousands of Nashvillians lost homes, possessions, businesses, and loved ones.
And while Nashville was the beneficiary of a quick response from FEMA and some tremendous coordinated volunteer efforts by Hands On Nashville and other local groups, I'm not sure that the impoverished Swat Valley is going to fare as well.
The presence of the US military in the region makes the flooding even more of an issue for American foreign policy, as the military has the capacity and training to respond quickly to crises, and potentially to show that America's stake in the region is humanitarian and not merely military or imperial.