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Pakistan floods 'heart-wrenching' - UN chief


Seriously, look at that image. That's the whole country map, not a subsection. Everything in blue has been affected. The mountainous areas to the left of the blue part, I suppose, are not very populated.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has described as "heart-wrenching" the destruction he witnessed on a visit to flood-devastated Pakistan.
[...]
The Pakistani government says up to 20 million people have now been affected by the monsoon floods.
[...]
On Wednesday the UN launched a $459m (£294m) appeal for emergency aid for Pakistan. It said that billions of dollars would be needed in the long term.
[...]
Ban Ki-moon and President Zardari flew by helicopter over four districts of Punjab, the province known as this country's bread basket.

Now from the air it looks like a land of sprawling lakes. Valuable crops like sugar cane and wheat are under water. Mud houses are submerged, millions have fled.

The visitors were greeted with loud applause when they visited a relief camp set up by the Pakistan military. It is now home to about 1,000 displaced people.

They cheered when Ban Ki-moon said he hoped they would soon go home.

But their homes are gone and there are millions of Pakistanis facing the same uncertain fate. The UN says not even half are receiving aid.

Give to Médecins Sans Frontières

[personal profile] ironed_orchid has links to more articles
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All of Ontario is flooded. From Ottawa to Thunder Bay, from Toronto to North Bay, most homes have been swept away, all agriculture is ruined for this year and possibly the next year, factories are gone and will take years to rebuild. You're stranded in Toronto with 3 million other people and you can't get to Montréal because the 401 has been washed out in many places, and so have rail links. Lake Ontario now runs up to the bottom of St-Clair hill, but even everything north of there has been washed out.

The Canadian armed forces are air-dropping bottles of water, because everything coming out of taps, where there are taps left and they still work, is brown. Condo owners thought they'd be safe in their towers, but most have been broken into to escape the waters; many are overcrowded. The Canadian armed forces drop loads of water bottles every day, but heavy rain impedes their work. You only had 3 small bottles of water today, and 2 pre-packaged sandwiches. Some of the Muslim friends aren't even as lucky, and have been breaking their Ramadan fast with water only.

In Québec, where already one million Ontarians are taking refuge, food prices have gone through the roof due to the drastically reduced supplies and increased demand. The floods continue and some hydro-electric dams in the region of Saguenay/Lac St-Jean might burst, spreading the devastation to Québec.

Back in Ontario, there are currently 10 million people facing imminent serious health problems if they don't get enough water and/or medication. Water-born diseases are starting to spread among the people that are in refugee camps at various higher ground points throughout the province.

---

That's Pakistan today. The flooded area in Pakistan is nowhere as large as Ontario, but the number of people affected (14 million) is greater than the province's population. The 10 million figure of people in serious risk is quite scary. An update on the current situation: Pakistan's crisis will outlast floods: UN

Two sets of pictures to consider:
http://www.boston.com/bigpicture/2010/08/severe_flooding_in_pakistan.html
http://www.boston.com/bigpicture/2010/08/severe_flooding_in_pakistan.html

Donate today: redcross.ca.
Chapati Mystery has links if you live in the USA, and elsewhere.

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One thing that's bugged me is how the media are complaining that "islamist groups are providing aid to refugees in the devastated areas, gaining influence".

Seriously? The government is utterly failing at providing relief, and you complain that islamist groups are providing aid? Don't worry, they probably can't respond to the demand either anyway. Every person that islamist groups help is someone who won't die. So stop that whining.

---

Ottawa is pledging another $30M, on top of the initial $2M peanut the government came up with.

Hopefully Zardari can skip on his 10% cut this time.

Nutty BJP

Aug. 19th, 2009 01:10 pm
frandroid: large crowd of indian women (india)
BJP expells Jaswant Singh over praise of Jinnah

"Thirty years of my political life with the BJP and (being expelled) on this note … saddened me and on the ground for writing a book, that saddened me even more, immensely more," a visibly upset Singh, a founding member of the party, told reporters.

These guys are dangerous nutters... The article also mentioned that LK Advani also had to temporarily step down from BJP leadership for calling Jinnah "secular" in the past.

Jinnah was long opposed to a split India and only surrendered to the Pakistan option after decades of Muslims not getting a fair voice in the Congress/independence movement, which was frankly a Hindu nationalist movement more than an all-inclusive independence movement.
frandroid: Pirate ghostship, moored in a lava creek, underground. (ghostship)
Very interesting BBC article on the implementation of Sharia in the Swat valley of Pakistan.

This follows Chapati Mystery's Reading Swat from February, which compiled a bunch of articles on the topic, from both the U.S. and Pakistan.

If you haven't really followed this topic on the news, the Pakistani government in February agreed to let the Swat valley be governed by Sharia law, after Pakistani Taliban elements where basically chasing the government out of there and were becoming more threatening to the rule of law elsewhere. At first this might sound like a heretic proposition, but as the first article demonstrates, it's not all bad, although there's no coverage of rape/adultery cases, which is where things often get ugly. (They also are ugly under non-sharia Pakistani law, though.)

I'm posting about these things because Pakistan is shaping up to become the most important area of Obama's foreign policy as it relates to Afghanistan, the Taliban, and in some smaller (but not unimportant) measure Al-Qaeda, Osama bin Laden and the future of Islamic terrorism and militancy against the United States and its allied regimes. The implications for global security are quite important.

I have found Chapati Mystery, in particular, to be a rich source of information: Sepoy (Manan Ahmed) holds South Asia history PhD from the University of Chicago, has a progressive take on things and has quite a depth of historical and political knowledge.

I need to read Tariq Ali again, although the value of his writing works at a different level...
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Percentage of Pakistanis and Indonesians who say that attacks on civilians are sometimes justified to defend Islam: 8
Percentage of Americans who say that attacks on civilians are sometimes justified: 24

Source: Harper's Index
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Blood and batons spur Pakistan row

This is a good article that summarizes the current row between Pakistan's Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Mohammed Ali Durrani Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry, who had traditionally supported Musharraf, against the government, which has tried to tame down the judge. The Chief Justice has been supported by most of the country's lawyers and now protests are escalating.

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