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HomemifeaturePakistan Battles for Survival

Pakistan Battles for Survival

The people of Pakistan have suffered the worst natural disaster in the country’s history – floods so severe that they killed tens of thousands, displaced millions and many more millions have been left vulnerable to disease, starvation and exposure.

On 27 August, mivision posted an appeal on its Facebook page asking the international eye care community to donate to the relief effort. As a result of the appeal on Facebook, mivision received the following touching response from Ifrah Bukhari, an Optometrist from Lahore, Pakistan…

The most devastating floods in Pakistan’s living memory have left more than 16,000 people dead and over 20 million people homeless.

The floods began in the mountainous areas of Pakistan in the month of July with the onset of monsoon rains and slowly moved down the country, destroying vast swaths of the prime agricultural land and wiping out or damaging approximately one million homes. More than one fifth of the country’s irrigation infrastructure, live-stock and crops have been destroyed. The scale of disaster has raised threats to the country’s stability, at a time when Pakistan is already coping with an anaemic economy and terrorist attacks.

The number of people who could die as a result of watery diarrhoea and therefore dehydration is a real concern for us. It really is very basic types of illness that can kill people here…

Major Health Risks

Health conditions are pathetic in the affected areas and have the potential to develop into major hazards. Previous malnutrition in young children has been exacerbated and prolific diarrhoea and dysentery is deteriorating into cholera epidemic. Skin and eye infections are mushrooming through contact.

The government is unable to cope with such a massive disaster. While the NGO’ s, especially the Imran Khan Foundation and Edhi Welfare, have been phenomenal in providing aid to many of the affected people, relief efforts are progressing at a snail’s pace. A great number of youth, especially college and university students are working day and night as volunteers for the relief effort.

More Relief Needed

The international response to Pakistan’s disaster has been luke warm and much more is required. Within the country there is a growing feeling that the international community is being insensitive to the peoples’ plight, and this has to be rectified urgently.

The UN estimates that millions of dollars are urgently needed to get agriculture, the economic backbone of Pakistan, back on its feet. This is a priority as stupendous agricultural crop losses mean the country’s already fragile food situation has been impacted to a frightening degree.

I take this opportunity to appeal to everyone to come forward and help us in this time of need.

Ifrah Bukhari is an optometrist based in Lahore, Pakistan.

Pakistan Needs Our Help

Ian Woolverton, from Save the Children, is trying to help with the relief effort in southern Pakistan. He says “the biggest health threat at the moment is diarrhoea, we can’t overstate this enough really.”

“The number of people who could die as a result of watery diarrhoea and therefore dehydration is a real concern for us. It really is very basic types of illness that can kill people here.”

A donation of AUD$10 could literary save a child’s life.

To give to a Pakistan Flood Appeal send a donation to one of your preferred charities or make a donation by going to:

Red Cross

P: (AUS) 1800 811 700
W: www.redcross.org.au/Pakistan_floods_2010.htm

Save The Children

P: (AUS) 1600 760 011
W: www.savethechildren.org.au

Oxfam

P: (AUS) 1800 088 110
W: www.oxfam.org.au/explore/conflict-and-natural-disasters/current-emergencies/pakistan-floods

Unicef

P: (AUS) 1300 884 233
W: www.unicef.com.au

Geoff Lawson’s Plea

mivision columnist, international cricketer and former Pakistan cricket coach, Geoff Lawson, is a regular visitor to Pakistan and has also made a heartfelt plea to help those affected by the tragedy.

“As someone familiar with some of the countryside that is inundated and the people that have lives torn away, I can empathise enormously with the common people of Pakistan who have suffered this catastrophe. The problem doesn’t end with the flood recession, the crops that won’t be planted and won’t be harvested will have a huge effect on all of Pakistan in the next 12 months and beyond. The rural people of Pakistan are amongst the most hospitable and friendly in the world, they would give a visitor their last roti. Please help them now in this time of desperate need. “

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