A watery fate.

Last Wednesday night, the swollen Indus River broke through the Sur Jani embankment in southern Sindh province, threatening the towns of Thatta, Mirpur Bathoro and Sijawal. I know this because my friend Khalida Brohi, founder of the Participatory Development Initiative in Pakistan (see post on 3/9)  wrote me a poignant email, detailing how her organization is geared up to help in the ongoing disaster that is the Pakistan flood. (And yes, I did already write about the flood last week, and probably will again…)

Photo by REUTERS/Asim Tanveer

Although some of the water has receded in parts of Pakistan, along with the world’s fickle attention, 17 million people have lost their homes and livelihoods to floods that began in the northwestern highlands with extra-heavy monsoons. As the floods moved inexorably downstream, they have wiped out 500,000 tons of wheat and 1 million acres of rice fields in the Punjab breadbasket of Pakistan. And according to the UNICEF about 3.5 million Pakistanis have only contaminated water for drinking, bathing and washing.

Life in the refugee camp. AP Photo by Kevin Frayer

I’m giving to Khalida’s organizaton because it is Pakistani-run and extremely well-connected with Oxfam and other large international aid organizations. PDI is already providing aid to 10,000 other families further north: in Thatta, the plan is to prevent disease with fresh water and sanitation and hygiene kits for the people living in refugee camps. And of course, to feed the greatest number of the poor as possible.

Pakistani child suffering intestinal disease from contaminated water.

The beautiful Khalida Brohi.

I met Khalida this summer in Boulder and I was amazed at her compassion, bravery and sweetness – and struck by her deep, abiding love for her country.  I know this tragedy must be breaking her heart.

My $100 is a message of support and small gesture of the respect I have for the work she is doing. Godspeed, Khalida!

4 thoughts on “A watery fate.

  1. Betty – The photos from this tragedy as heartbreaking and I keep imagining how I would cope. Not well. I would like to donate to Khalida Brohi’s organization but google didn’t bring it up. Do you have a link?

    Thanks for your continuing wonderful work. I’m just sorry the world needs all this good work that is going on out there.


    • This is a comment from Darcey Donovan of PAKSBAB who works in Pakistan:

      Thank you, Betty, for the insightful post. The BBC has been doing a commendable job reporting on the devastating flooding. Here is a report that may shed some light on why people are slow or reluctant to give – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-south-asia-11035270. As an American woman who has made 7 extended trips to northern Pakistan in the last 4 years, I have found the local people to be extremely hospitable, interested in my culture, and thankful for assistance. I have hugged countless women wearing scarves and burqas and have come to discover that in so many ways they are just like me. Hopefully the international community will continue to take increasing notice of this unfolding tragedy and the people will receive the help they so desperately need. Darcey / http://www.paksbab.org

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