Welcome to Sukkur. It's 6:55 PM local time, and it's 95 degrees. With the heat index, it's 116. By Saturday, the actual temperatures are expected to be over 100 - for the next five days straight.
Today, the BBC reports, thousands are being turned away from aid camps because they lack the "documentation necessary to receive aid." Those without identity cards - which they may have left behind as they fled the waters, or which may have been destroyed in the flooding itself - are being refused aid.
The eyes see. The ears hear. Yet, somehow, the mind struggles to grasp the full dimension of this catastrophe.
Almost 20 million people need shelter, food and emergency care. That is more than the entire population hit by the Indian Ocean tsunami, the Kashmir earthquake, Cyclone Nargis and the earthquake in Haiti — combined.
At least 160,000 square kilometres of land is under water — an area larger than more than half the countries of the world.
UPDATE: Please also read Clytymnestra's very moving, very personal diary from earlier today, and add your tips and recs, here.
UPDATE 2: From carolina stargazer:
Tell ya what...
I want to get this ShelterBox we're working on out the door to Pakistan filled with tents and water treatments and Lifestraws and such. If you'll help me out, I'll match all donations to ShelterBox up to $100 total reported in this diary. Can we do it?
C'mon, folks! Let's get that ShelterBox lid closed and on its way to Pakistan!
A PERSONAL REQUEST FROM AJI:
Help Pakistan! is a group dedicated to getting needed humanitarian support to flood-ravaged Pakistan, and to disseminating information pertaining to the floods to the Daily Kos community at large. Our goal is to get aid to the people who need it most.
If you have a negative comment pertaining to Pakistan, its people, its culture, or its relationship with the United States, please refrain from making it here. This is not the appropriate venue. If you wish to discuss those issues, please write your own diary. These diaries are explicitly dedicated to humanitarian relief.
If you would like to be a part of Help Pakistan!, please click the picture at the very bottom of this diary. We would love more volunteers to help us with the burden of posting a diary every day.
Prior to this past weekend, some 600,000 residents of the southern Sindh Province had already sought shelter in relief camps. Within a 24-hour period over the weekend, another 150,000 were evacuated from the Sukkur area as floodwaters continued to rise.
In Sukkur, between eight and ten thousand people are sleeping in the mud. They have no choice; there is nowhere else to go.
Elders are starving; children dying of disease and dehydration. The relief effort is short of the number of helicopters needed to distribute aid. The intense heat, combined with feet of standing water, has created the perfect breeding ground for malaria, cholera, and innumerable other bacterial diseases:
As of August 18th, there had been an estimated 204,040 cases of acute diarrhoeal disease, 204,647 acute respiratory disease cases and 263,356 cases of acute skin diseases.
Nearly a week later, with overcrowding, lack of sanitation, and immune systems ravaged by starvation, those numbers are bound to be much higher.
Now, I'm going to ask you to think, just for a minute, about what people in Pakistan are actually enduring at this moment:
Your home, your belongings, your life - perhaps even a family member - all have just been swept away by a wall of filthy, stinking water. To save your children, you've had to carry them on your shoulders, under your arms, any way you could just to keep their heads above the water line and keep them from drowning. You've been through days stuck in the open, no shelter, with rain pelting relentlessly against your skin.
You haven't eaten in a week. What little food you've scavenged you've given to your children, in the hopes that they will survive. Looking at them, you know they may not: During that week, none of you has had a drink of clean water, either. Reduced to drinking whatever you could find, you and your family now are all suffering the ravages of acute diarrhea, including additional dehydration. Your mother's skin is like paper; her eyes are listless; she can no longer stand, even with her cane. The baby has visibly lost weight; he can't keep anything down; his skin has erupted with a terrible bacterial infection. The rest of the family shows signs of cholera. And the mosquitoes are everywhere, breeding in the fetid pools and feeding off you and everyone else stuck on place in the eight inches of mud that once was called a road.
You're so hungry, so thirsty, so exhausted. You can't think. Even if you could, what difference would it make? There's nowhere to go. Unless help comes from outside, you and your entire family will die here, mired in mud and feces, in a matter of days at most. But the baby has finally fallen asleep from exhaustion; so, too, has your mother. The other children, listless with starvation and illness, simply lie in the mud, eyes glazed, uncaring. Despite the 116-degree heat, you think you might be weak enough to sleep for a bit. And so you lie down, too, and feel the mud suck and pull at your skin as you close your eyes and pray that you can forget, even if only for an hour.
These are our brothers and sisters, our mothers and fathers, our children and elders. But for the grace of Spirit, God, Allah, some other deity, or nothing but fate goes each of us. And someday, we just may be the refugees who need the world's help to survive the ravages of climate change.
So please, dig deep. Even $5 will help someone. And it may do more than just help - it may save a life.
Note: Numerous NGOs are doing important work that may benefit Pakistan indirectly. However, the goal here is direct support, so this list includes only organizations that are actually on the ground in Pakistan. Use due diligence in donating to any unknown group. With those caveats, here are some ways that you can make a difference now:
AmeriCares: Medicines, medical supplies and equipment, nutritional support, etc.
Direct Relief International: Mobile health teams and medical supplies, including Pedialyte and antimicrobials.
Human Development Foundation: Relief/reconstruction, including clean water, supplies, disease prevention, sewage disposal, temporary school facilities.
Islamic Relief USA: $2 million Pakistan campaign, including on-ground needs assessments; aid distribution; general relief.
Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders): Medical care; clean water; supply kits, including mosquito netting, tarps, blankets, hygiene supplies, clothes.
Mercy Corps: Water supply kits, including tanks, purification tablets, filtration units; food supply kits, including rice, oil, staples; tool kits.
Oxfam International: Hot food; clean water; boats for search/rescue; installation of tanks and toilets; sanitation kits; hygiene supplies; cash-for-work programs.
Red Crescent: Emergency services; food packs; bulk rice; tents; other supplies; help with field operations, including shelter, water, sanitation, logistics, other relief.
Relief International: Distributing "Survival Kits," including dishes/utensils; water purification tablets; cooking stove; jerrycan; floor mat; mosquito netting; hygiene kits; etc.
ShelterBox: Distributing water carriers; filtration systems; ShelterBoxes, including 10-person partitioned weatherproof tents, insulated ground sheets, thermal blankets, mosquito netting, tool kits, stoves, dishes/utensils, water purification supplies, children's kits, etc.
UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees): Through partner NGOs, distributing tents, sheeting/tarps, cooking sets, buckets, sleeping mats, blankets, etc.
U.S. State Department Texting Program: Forwards $10 donations to UNHCR for distribution of supplies in two provinces; text "SWAT" to 50555.
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
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