Pakistan: Over 20 million people affected by the flood

This report and appeal, sent out by Farooq Tariq from the Labour Party Pakistan gives you some idea of what is occuring in Pakistan. Please respond to the appeal!

***

The flood is still at dangerous levels in several parts of Pakistan. The numbers of people effected by the flood have crossed 20 million. More torrential rains are forecast by the weather department. This is been considered one of the most devastating flood in world history. The UN has once again appealed for donations for Pakistan. But there has been a very slow response internationally to help Pakistan in this period of great devastation.

After destroying most of Khaiber Pukhtoonkhawa and Southern Punjab, the water has now washed down the Indus River Valley, causing a deluge in Sindh. The water has been powered by unusually fierce monsoon rains that began in country’s northern areas some three weeks ago.

Roads, bridges and other infrastructure have given way, overwhelming the government's ability to cope. At this point an estimated 1,600 have been killed with another 5 million left homeless.

The Labour Relief Campaign (LRC), launched in October 2005 after an earthquake killed nearly 100,000, has put up relief camps in several parts of Pakistan. The LRC springs into action whenever there is an emergency situation. Member organizations include Progressive Youth Front, Women Workers Help Line, Labour Education Foundation, National Trade Union Federation, CADTM Pakistan, Labour Party Pakistan, Pakistan For Palestine and Pakistan Kissan Rabita Committee. Currently the Lahore camp at Regal Chouck is raising thousands of rupees every day in aid.

Here is report of a union council in Khaiber Pukhtoon Khawa province by a team of four LRC members led by Farooq Ahmad, member of the federal executive committee, Labour Party Pakistan:

On 29 July Pir Sabaq, a Union Council of Nowshehra district, with a population of more than 34,000, is completely destroyed by the recent flood waters. A tent city of more than 1,000 tents has been established but most of the people are still forced to live in homes partially destroyed by the flood. This can lead to a major building collapsing any time, resulting in the further loss of lives.

In addition to losing their homes most people found their household items have been swept away. They have lost their cattle and goats as well. People without anything to eat, drink or wear.

Pir Sabaq is mainly a town of working-class people who work in marble or stone-crushing factories, or in the construction sector or agriculture sectors. When a LRC team visited yesterday, local people told about how water more than 14 feet high reached the town’s roof tops. Since the flood came around 4 a.m., while people were sleeping in the comfort of their homes, there was no chance to save anything but their lives.

The owners of small tourist boats did their best to help save lives of common people.

By contrast, when army helicopters arrived at the scene, they began evacuating the families of military men and residents of the big houses. People immediately saw the way the army discriminated about who they aided. People told the LRC team that many stranded on the roof tops of their houses waved their hands in the air when they saw the army helicopters coming, but it was of no use.

People have also blamed the government for failing to inform them on time about the danger of the flood. Some also charged that water was allowed to flow from the Warsik dam in order to save the nearby military camps.

The LRC team saw the house of Pervaiz Lala, general secretary of LPP in Pir Sabaq. It, like the majority, was completely destroyed; he and his family is now homeless. He told them the people did not eat for almost three days after the flood. Not a single governmental official has visited the area so far. The information minister of KP province, Mian Iftikhar Hussain, stated in clear terms that the provincial government cannot do anything to help people in this disaster. however two days before an NGO started providing some food.

There is still water all over Pir Sabaq. A bad smell is everywhere and no clean drinking water is available. The children are suffering from diarrhea and skin rashes. The local government dispensary, the only medical facility for the townspeople, has been totally destroyed. In this environment people are haunted by the possibility of diseases being spread.

People now are in need of: food items like cooking oil, wheat flour, milk, sugar, clean drinking water, vegetables, clothes, tents, cooking utensils and medicine.

Here is an appeal we launched on 7th August that gives you some more information and the ways to help the campaign.

Appeal issued on August 7, 2010
More than 12 million people suffering from floods in Pakistan

Please donate to the Labour Relief Campaign to help people of Pakistan who are facing floods and torrential rains have unleashed flash floods in different parts of the country over the last three weeks. Water levies have broken, leaving the people exposed to flood water.

More than 12 million people have suffered due to these floods. More than 650,000 houses have collapsed, mainly in villages.

Thousands of acres of crops have been destroyed. Houses, live-stock such as cattle and goats have been destroyed, along with household goods, clothes, shoes and other items. Residents of villages are currently without drinkable water, food, shelter and in need of clothes.

In particular, the situation is dire for children and women; they are in desperate need of food and clothing. Due to the lack of drinkable water disease is spreading rapidly in the affected areas. In particular, flu, fever, diarrhea, and cholera have been noted.

The government’s response has made matters worse. They failed to act immediately, leaving tens of thousands unaided. They came after twenty-four hours to the makeshift camps with paltry amounts of food to distribute. The gap between the food being distributed and the large number of people desperate to eat led to fights breaking out.

Despite the fact that there is very little coverage in the media, the situation in Baluchistan is just as bad as in Khyber-Pakhtoonkhwa and western and southern Punjab. As usual, Baluich not at the top of the government's priority list. Last night heavy rains started in the Khyber-Pakhtoonkhwa province.

The Labour Education Foundation, Labour Party of Pakistan, National Trade Union Federation, Women Workers Help Line and Progressive Youth Front have set up Labour Flood Relief Camps in Lahore and so far have collected more than 300,000 rupees. Rs. 110,000 has already been sent to Baluchistan and more than 200,000 are on their way to Southern Punjab to help flood victims.

We appeal our friends and organizations in Pakistan and abroad for donations of a monetary kind or in the form of drinking water, clothes (new), shoes, medicine. 


If you wish to transfer funds, below are details of the account for sending money to the LRC.

A/C Title: Labour Education Foundation
A/C Number: 01801876
Route:
Please advise and pay to Citi Bank, New York, USA Swift CITI US 33 for onward transfer to BANK ALFALAH LTD., KARACHI, PAKISTAN A/C No. 36087144 and for final transfer to BANK ALFALAH LTD., LDA PLAZA, KASHMIR ROAD, LAHORE, PAKISTAN Swift: ALFHPKKALDA for A/C No. 01801876 OF LABOUR EDUCATION FOUNDATION.

Repudiate foreign debt, divert payment to relief efforts

On August 13 Abdul Khaliq and Farooq Tariq of Labor Relief Campaign held a press conference at the Lahore Press Club. They called for Pakistan to unilaterally suspend payment of the foreign debt--now at $54 billion, on which the country annually pays $3 billion in debt serving alone. Instead of begging for much-needed aid for relief and rehabilitation, Pakistan could immediately divert the $3 billion to the relief of flood victims. They pointed out that such a radical action can be justifed under the UN's “State of Necessity” clause. In addition, Khaliq and Tariq pointed to Pakistan's bloated military budget as another area where a transfer of priorities to social programs is essential.

Sending money to Pakistan within next month

I wanted to post this message because I realize that for many of us sending a bank transfer can be costly--but here's a note that Western Union offered to send money for Pakistan relief over the next month for free!

*****

Dear All,

Western Union has offered to free transfer of donations for flood relief in Pakistan from UK, USA and Middle East for one month only. These donations can be sent in personal name and not on organization's name. Friends in these countries who want to donate to Labour Relief Campaign can send their donations in the following name:

Khalid Mahmood
ID Card No. 35202-1608164-1

Director,
Labour Education Foundation
Ground Floor, 25-A Davis Road,
Lahore, Pakistan.
Tel: 0092 42 36303808, 0092 42 36315162
Fax: 0092 42 36271149
Mobile: 0092 321 9402322
www.lef.org.pk

Labour Education Foundation is coordinating the funding being received for Labour Relief Campaign.

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