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It isn't over:

Tens of thousands of people in southern Pakistan are fleeing a threatened flood-surge, three weeks after heavy monsoon rains first hit the country.

In one village in Sindh province, Shahdadkot, people are trying to salvage their belongings amid fears a protective barrier will be breached.

An estimated 4m people have now been displaced in the city of Sukkar alone.

Meanwhile, the World Health Organization (WHO) says diseases are spreading in affected areas.

Sindh in the south is now being described as the country's worst-hit province, with officials saying at least 200,000 residents have fled in the last 24 hours.

Many had little to begin with, and have no safety net. From the NYTimes:

The children are often hungry and crying, Mr. Mohammad said. “We don’t know what will happen to us; we have lost everything,” he said. “We have nothing here, just the clothes we are wearing.”

He and others spoke of their anxiety that because Sindh is so low-lying, it will take months for the waters to subside, and for them to return home. And they know they will return to nothing. The water was up to their necks, so their mud-brick houses will have collapsed and their animals drowned, they said. Surviving would be difficult without assistance, and few expressed confidence they would receive much.

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A little bit of good news: despite a slow start, aid is increasing:

The world has given or pledged more than $800 million to help Pakistan cope with massive floods, the foreign minister said Sunday, as a surging river in the south led authorities to urge thousands more people to evacuate.

Pakistan is grateful for the international assistance, which came after the United Nations appealed for $460 million in aid for the deluged country, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said.
"The total commitments and pledges that Pakistan has got so far are $815.58 million," he told reporters in Islamabad. "In these circumstances, when the West and Europe and America are going through a recession ... this kind of solidarity for Pakistan, I think, is very encouraging."

Encouraging, but Pakistan will need our help for the long haul:

UN chief Ban Ki-moon has warned that flood-stricken Pakistan faces "years of need", raising fears of potential unrest as survivors grow increasingly frustrated with the struggle to make ends meet.

• • • • • •

It's hard to imagine the scale of this disaster. NASA has taken a number of satellite images that help give a sense of scope:

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The Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) instrument on NASA's Terra spacecraft captured this cloud-free image over the city of Sukkur, Pakistan, on Aug. 18, 2010. Sukkur, a city of a half-million residents located in southeastern Pakistan's Sindh Province, is visible as the grey, urbanized area in the lower left center of the image. It lies along the Indus River, Pakistan's longest, which snakes vertically from north to south through the image and is the basis for the world's largest canal-based irrigation system. As reported by the British Broadcasting Corporation, Sukkur is one of the few urban areas in the region that has thus far escaped widespread destruction from the flooding, which has affected an estimated 4,000,000 people in the province. Relief camps have sprung up across the city to house some of these displaced people. The land along the Indus River in this region is largely agricultural, and the flooding has taken a heavy toll on the region's crops and fruit trees. Source: NASA
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This image pair of the affected region was acquired by the nadir (vertical-viewing) camera on the Multi-angle Imaging SpectroRadiometer (MISR) instrument aboard NASA's Terra spacecraft. The image on the left is from Aug. 8, 2009, and the one on the right is from Aug. 11, 2010. These false-color views display the near-infrared, red and green bands of the instrument as red-green-blue. This distinctly highlights the contrast between the water and vegetation on the river banks, because vegetation appears bright in the near-infrared region of the electromagnetic spectrum.

The region of southern Pakistan shown here includes the Sindh Province. The Indus River can be seen snaking across the image from lower left to upper right. The feature near the bottom and left of center is Manchhar Lake. Water is apparent in shades of blue and cyan, though sediment content can add a tan color, as in the upper right. Clouds appear white. Dimensions of each panel are 300 by 425 kilometers (186 by 264 miles). In the image from 2009, the Indus is typically about 1 kilometer (0.6 mile) wide. In the 2010 image, the river is 23 kilometers (14 miles) wide or more in spots, and flooding in much of the surrounding region, particularly in the Larkana District to the west of the river, is very evident.  Source: NASA

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To the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite, the impact of Pakistan’s floods was most obvious along the major rivers. These images use a combination of infrared and visible light to increase the contrast between water and land. Water appears in varying shades of blue, and clouds appear in varying shades of blue-green. Vegetation is green, and bare ground is pinkish brown. The top image is from August 11, 2010, after two weeks of flooding had devastated the country. For comparison, the bottom image shows the same region one month before, on July 10, 2010.

In the image from July 10, the relatively narrow Indus River remains confined to its banks, and the Jhelum and Chenab Rivers, which flow into the Indus, are barely discernible. In the image from August 11, all three rivers are swollen, and the Indus River has pushed over its banks even before it meets the tributaries flowing from the east.  Source: NASA

• • • • • •

I don't really have much more to add that hasn't already been said. It saddens me to think that ignorance and bigotry are keeping some from opening their hearts to the people of Pakistan.

You can make a difference:

Greg (Three Cups of Tea, Stones Into Schools) Mortenson's non-profit (CAI) recommends supporting a local (Pakistani) group to which donations will likely have a large, immediate, and lasting impact-


Human Development Foundation

http://www.hdf.com

(800) 705 1310


DONATE 

flood_donate_HDF

• • • • • •

Other groups that deserve support as well.

Doctors without Borders (MSF):

DONATE

The Red Cross:

DONATE

OXFAM:

DONATE

UNICEF:

DONATE

   Toll free: 1-800-FOR-KIDS (1-800-367-5437)

   Text:   "Text FLOODS to 864233 (UNICEF) to donate $10"

Shelterbox:

DONATE

ShelterBox tents in Shishkat upper Hunza, Pakistan

• • • • • •

From the US State dept.

How You Can Help:

Text "FLOOD" to 27722. Your $10 will go to the State Department Fund for Pakistan Relief that Secretary Clinton announced August 19, and is part of a new effort to bring attention to the need for aid.

Text "SWAT" to 50555 ; $10 goes to United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees fund for flood victims

• • • • • •

Previous recommended relief diaries about the floods in Pakistan (with the Help Pakistan tag):

• Aug 22: Why?
• Aug 21: ... and a river runs through it: Pakistan's WaterWars
• Aug 21: Help-Pakistan!: Devastation
• Aug 20: Pakistan Floods  - reporting/working from the inside
• Aug 20: Pakistan Relief: Just watch the video
• Aug 19: A slow moving Tsunami ....
• Aug 19: Anti-Muslim Bigotry: Not just for wingnuts anymore
• Aug 18: Pakistan Floods... Please Help
• Aug 18: Chaos is the new Normal {Earthship Wednesday}
• Aug 18: EcoAdvocates: A green model in the Gulf
• Aug 17: Please Help Pakistan... Please ... Update: New Flood Warnings
• Aug 16: pakistan III: the human face of climate change: ecojustice
• Aug 16: Pakistan still needs help; lots of it. Floods displace 20+ Million
• Aug 14: Pakistan: 6 Million Without Water (How to Help)
• Aug 9: Media ignores "Worst Humanitarian Disaster In Recent History"
• Jul 31: Pakistan needs help. Floods kill 800+, displace 1 Million

• • • • • •

We are looking at what may be the worst humanitarian crisis the world has seen in a century.

help_pak_google_group

Some of us at Daily Kos use a Google group to help organize for the crisis in Pakistan. Anyone who would like to get involved or get alerts when a new HELP PAKISTAN diary is posted, please join.
< ==== CLICK THE PIC

Originally posted to patrickz on Mon Aug 23, 2010 at 06:49 AM PDT.

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