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As devastating as Hurricane Katrina was to the Gulf Coast, leaving 275,000 destroyed homes in its wake, the monsoon flooding in Pakistan is far worse:

U.N. estimates reveal that approximately 4.6 million people are without shelter. Thousands of people are on the move within the country, either to seek shelter with relatives and friends or returning to assess damages to their homes and property. Even for those affected families who have some form of shelter, in most cases tents or partially damaged homes, the living conditions are terrible. Prolonged stay under these circumstances poses health and other risks that could lead to a second wave of deaths.

An estimated 3.5 million houses have been destroyed in various parts of the four provinces according to Rehmatullah Kakar, Federal Minister for Housing and Works. (emphasis added, photo from UN Photo/UNICEF/ZAK)


from NB77's photostream

Karachi, Pakistan: A girl looks at me taking her picture. She's been bucketing water out of her house in Machar Colony following the 2007 winter floods. It was important that as much water be removed from the home before it became stagnant. The only probelm is that it drains back into the house as soon as its bailed out, and there are no sewage pipes to drain the water out to sea.

Children are the most vulnerable during emergencies

from UNICEF Canada's photostream

A child sleeps on a bed surrounded by floodwater in his home in Khwas Koorona Village, Pakistan. An estimated 2.5 million of the province’s 3.5 million residents have been affected by the disaster.

Help provide life-saving supplies by donating to UNICEF:

Threats will not deter aid efforts:

UNITED NATIONS, Aug 27:The United Nations will not be deterred by a Taliban threat against its workers helping with flood relief efforts in Pakistan, the world body’s top humanitarian official said Thursday. “We do take these threats seriously. The U.N. will review the security measure for its workers, but we will not be deterred by these threats,”  said John Holmes, the outgoing United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator.

“Of course, security issues are there, but we’ll continue to help a very large number affected by the unprecedented floods” Holmes, who is leaving his post, told a news briefing at UN Headquarters in New York.

Replying to a question, Holmes said he had not talked to the Pakistan government about beefing up security for the UN aid workers, but the humanitarian team in the country had taken up the matter.
“There cannot be one hundred percent security, but we’ll continue to take risks in discharging our humanitarian duties,” he added.

US to boost efforts relief efforts in Pakistan:

WASHINGTON, Aug 27 (Reuters) - The Pentagon said on Friday it would double the number of U.S. helicopters to help with relief efforts in Pakistan after epic floods that have overwhelmed the fragile government there.

An additional 18 helicopters would arrive in mid-September as part of an expanded U.S. contribution to deal with the floods, the Pentagon said. These would be in addition to 15 helicopters and three C-130 aircraft already there.

Rajiv Shah, administrator for the U.S. Agency for International Development, said it was clear after he personally surveyed flood damage this week that significant resources would be needed when the waters receded.

• • • • • •

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:

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
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

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've seen some pretty amazing things happen on this site. I know there can be a lot of back and forth on the topic du jour, but when it comes to reaching out and helping those in need, Kossacks come together and donate their time, energy, and money - even in times of economic hardship. Volunteers on Daily Kos have already helped raise thousands of dollars for those affected by the Pakistan floods. Please, if you can, consider aiding the relief effort:

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

(800) 705 1310



• • • • • •

Other groups that deserve support as well.

Doctors without Borders (MSF):


The Red Cross:






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

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



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

Aug 27: Helping Pakistan: $270 toward ShelterBox #139
Aug 27: Pakistan Floods News Update: August 27th, 2010
Aug 26: Humanitarian Relief Needed in Pakistan.  Women and Children First
Aug 25: The first climate refugees are in Pakistan
Aug 24: They're Dying  (sister diary to "Pakistan Flood: Different Growing Up")
Aug 24: Pakistan Flood: Different Growing Up (sister diary to "They're Dying")
Aug 23: Forgotten Humanity: Tragedy Continues in Pakistan
Aug 23: New flooding in the south, thousands more displaced - Help Pakistan
Aug 22: Aid Pakistan With Money or Action
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.


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.

Originally posted to patrickz on Fri Aug 27, 2010 at 06:07 PM PDT.

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