Isn’t it strange when the world turns a blind eye on a natural disaster which has affected more than the combined number of people from the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami, the 2005 Kashmir Earthquake and the 2010 Haiti Earthquake?
The Pakistan Floods which began in July this year have affected more than 21 million people and has destroyed more than a million homes. It has been described by Ban Ki-Moon, the United Nations Secretary General, as “the worst natural disaster the United Nations has responded to in its 65-year history.” Funny thing is, we don’t read or hear about it, even though the floods, at one point, had submerged 20% of the country.
Countries, as usual, have donated millions of dollars in the form of aid towards the flood relief in an extremely cold-hearted and uncaring manner as the aid received was delayed as well as insufficient. The United Nations has stated that the relief effort has been ‘under funded.’ This is strange, when the Haiti earthquake occurred a few months earlier in the year, close to $4.5 billion in aid was promptly raised.
The Pakistani authorities have claimed that the country requires up to $15 billion in order to recover. As of September 18, the United Nations was asking countries to contribute an additional $2 billion. The UN is stating that the amount of aid required for the flood disaster is equivalent to that of a natural disaster occurring each day.
Why has the world not come together promptly to provide sufficient amounts of aid for one of the largest disasters ever? The answer might lie in the fact that Pakistan is often labeled as a ‘state that sponsors terrorism.’ Yet whether the country sponsors terrorism or not, it is not the common Pakistani man who sponsors it; the common Pakistani man has nothing to do with it. The world cannot possibly shun 21 million Pakistanis due to their country being associated with the label of terrorism.
It is the world’s duty to come together and help others in such dire times. We know that the Claremont community got together to collect aid in various forms for the citizens of Haiti earlier this year; and it was an extremely successfully venture. A truck was stationed outside Story House during the end of last semester, where students could donate clothes and other materials for Haiti. It is appalling that nothing has been done in our community to provide aid for a disaster that is of much greater magnitude (in terms of destruction and the number of affected lives) than Haiti.
Whether or not Pakistan is a sponsor of terrorism, we should be concerned with the 21 million people who are displaced and struggling to survive. We should be asking ourselves whether it is time again for the Claremont community to join hands and collect as much as aid as possible to help more than 21 million stranded Pakistanis who are fighting to survive each day without food, clean water or shelter.