The plight of the 99ers here in the US remains grim, but the situation in Pakistan has gone beyond that.
Farhan Safdar is a volunteer working for Doctors Worldwide, the British medical relief organisation, in the Pakistani province of Nowshera. What he is carefully not saying in his blog is that the situation is ripe for a massive epidemic of cholera or worse. Contaminated water, unburied dead bodies, huge numbers of refugees crowded into camps with grossly inadequate sanitation facilities, these are a certain recipe for disaster.
The United Nations is issuing a call for "hundreds of millions" in emergency aid, according to an announcement yesterday from UN secretary general Ban Ki Moon. The UN has also said that the devastation from these floods is worse than the 2004 tsunami in the Indian Ocean, the 2005 earthquake in Pakistan (see a pattern here yet?), or last year's earthquake in Haiti.
Landslides in the Swat Valley, in Pakistan's Northwest, have cut the region off completely from surface traffic. And torrential rains have made it very difficult for helicopters to fly.
Meanwhile, Pakistan's Express Tribune is reporting that food prices have quadrupled overnight. With the UN reporting that 1.4 million acres of crops have been destroyed in the Punjab region of Pakistan alone. Note, however, that the UN statement does not specifically say food crops, and a great deal of cotton is grown in Southern Pakistan.
My heart goes out to the people of Pakistan, but I cannot help but wonder, where is the rest of the Islamic world? Where are the Saudis, with their trillions in oil money? They claim to the the ultimate arbiters of Islamic correctness, why have they not stepped forward to help their fellow Muslims? By all means let us assist Pakistan, but let the umma help as well.