A survivor of the floods in Pakistan carries relief supplies. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon said, "In the past I have visited scenes of many natural disasters around the world, but nothing like this. The scale of this disaster is so large, so many people, in so many places, in so much need. "
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon said of the floods in Pakistan: “In the past I have visited scenes of many natural disasters around the world, but nothing like this.”
PHOTO: flickr/Oxfam International

By JYOTHI NATARAJAN

More than ten million people are in need of humanitarian aid in Pakistan as a result of the worst monsoon floods in the country’s history. Beginning in late July, an unusually heavy amount of rain began to fall on parts of central and northern Pakistan. The heavy rains that caused flooding continued into August, moving south along the Indus River, an area that is the heart of agriculture and food production in Pakistan.

Agriculture is the main source of income for 70 percent of Pakistan’s population. According to the Pakistani Minister of Food and Agriculture, at least 20 percent of the country’s farmland has been flooded, and more than 200,000 farm animals have died. As food prices begin to soar, aid workers are struggling to get enough food to those in need. With the rising waters, disease is a major concern. The United Nations has reported that over 3.5 million children in Pakistan are at risk of being infected with diseases such as severe diarrhea and malaria.

The United Nations has asked for $460 million dollars in aid from other countries to cover the first 90 days of recovery. They have received 69.1 percent of that amount.

Survivors of the flood have been protesting the slow response and lack of international aid. One man at a protest told the BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation): “There seems to be no government here since the floods. We lost our children, our livestock. We could hardly save ourselves. We have to tell the government, and it’s the responsibility of the government to do whatever is possible.”

Monsoon: seasonal wind and rains, especially in Southern Asia