Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Pakistan, an eye witness account

The details here were sent to us by our representative in the area. He also took the photographs.

Our representative visited villages, towns and hastily set up refugee camps in Nowshera, Risalpur and Attock. What he found was dreadful misery. Homes had been destroyed and with them all the possessions the people had managed to accumulate. Clothes, children's toys, family photographs, everything.

It is estimated that 20 millions are now homeless. That is equivalent to every third person in Britain. If you're with two friends right now, one of you has just lost everything. How does that feel?

Our representative found thirty five families living together in a Christian school in Nowshera. They have no food or clean water, and nowhere else to go. Children cry in pain, hunger and bewilderment.

The floods have spread to Multan and Sindh provinces. Cities and villages have been razed to the ground by the force of the waters. There is nothing left.

The clean up and emergency aid operations are going to be massive, probably the biggest operations of their kind any of us has ever faced. God willing, the biggest we will ever face.

The immediate needs are to provide food and clean water, and prevent diseases such as cholera, typhoid and dysentry. But there will be other needs. Time is not our friend. With the coming of winter, the weather will turn cold and harsh. Shelters and warm clothing will be needed. People weakened, disspirited and disheartened will stand no chance against the snows and bitter winds. It is imperative that we do all we can before the weather turns.

Please help. The smallest amounts are gratefully received.

You can send cheques and money orders to

Pakistan Emergency Relief
World In Need
Trinity House
Mill Crescent
East Sussex

or you can donate with credit and debit cards by phoning 01892 669834, or through Paypal or Sage by visiting our website http://www.worldinneed.co.uk/

Further details and answers to your questions can be found at mark@worldinneed.co.uk

This is the worst disaster we've ever dealt with. We cannot stress enough how bad things are. Please don't leave the people of Pakistan to suffer on their own.

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Pakistan needs help, now and in future

You will no doubt have seen the pictures and heard the news of the total carnage in Pakistan caused by the worst flooding in 80 years. Much of the "land of the pure" has been washed away including whole communities, their arable land and communication infrastructures.

People are homeless, some temporarily, others watched helplessly as their homes were washed away, along with all their goods, clothes, livestock and everything else they own.

Others are sleeping with their animals, drinking contaminated water and leaving themselves open to terrible diseases such as cholera, dysentry, botulism and typhoid.

The UN estimate 14 million people are affected. Pakistan's government puts the figure at 20 million. Whichever figure is accurate, the suffering is huge, unprecedented, and we at WIN are bound and determined to do what we can to alleviate it.

Obviously, the first thing on our to do list is an emergency relief effort. People need food, fresh water, clothing, blankets, shelter. In this instance, we are asking our supporters to offer money rather than goods, as things can be bought more cheaply in the area, which has added bonuses of shoring up a ruined economy and avoiding the cost of shipping goods out. It's also quicker. We can also arrange for medicines and other needs to be met in this way.

Once the floods recede, the problem will not be solved. Many people will have no homes to return to, no livelihoods. These will all have to be rebuilt froms cratch, as will roads, hospitals, schools and other parts of the infrastructure. Communications systems will need repair. The top soil will need relaying to make the farm lands viable again, wells will need to be purified so that water is fit to drink. Until the people can replace the crops they lost, and grow more, we will need to provide food and other basic necessities.

World In Need has people who work in Peshawar and Islamabad. They know the area and the people. With our help, their input to the rescue operation can be massive.

If you feel you can help in this matter, please stop and do so. You may think the amount you can give is tiny, but please believe, every penny makes a difference. And if you are a UK tax payer, we can also gift aid the amount, which allows us to reclaim the tax from the Government.
You can send donations to:

World In Need
Trinity Hall
Mill Crescent
East Sussex

or to mark@worldinneed.co.uk. Cheques to be made payable to World In Need with a cover note restricting the gift to the World In Need Pakistan emergency aid appeal. You can also donate by phone on 01892 669834 during office hours.

'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.' (Matthew 25:40)

Saturday, 7 August 2010

Weather related disasters "affect women more"

With recent events in Pakistan, the relationship between climate change and natural disasters is becoming increasingly prevalent. Climate change affects us globally, however it cannot be forgotten that some suffer more than others....

In particular, it is important to view climate change as a gender 'issue' which has different effects for men and women. According to the Women's Environmental Network (WEN) women make up 70 per cent of the global poor. Weather-related disasters cause displacement, increased poverty, health problems and vulnerability of which women are more susceptible.

The gendered roles of men and women in developing countries mean that women are typically responsible for collecting water and fuel, a task which becomes increasingly difficult after weather-related disasters. As a result of the increased work load and inaccessibility to clean water, women experience severe health risks particularly during pregnancy or old age.

Such disasters and increasing poverty as a result naturally lead to discontent which often manifests itself in the form of conflict and sexual violence, of which women and children predominately pay the price. WEN predicts that 10,000 women are dying each year from weather-related disasters, compared to 4,500 male deaths.

There are two fundamental ways in which we can help those affected by such disasters: to help minimise the impact of climate change and to support those already affected. World In Need has a fair trade website called http://www.worldinneed.ethictrade.com/ and in the USA http://www.tradeasone.com/ which supports ethical trading and empowers the poor in the Third World.

World In Need also offers the chance to sponsor a child overseas for £20 per month, which helps educate and prepares them to climb out of the poverty trap. You can also sponsor a family for £30 per month, empowering women to feed their families with more security.