Friday, August 20, 2010


This is the most devastating set of comparison pictures, from April and from August. One quarter of Pakistan has flooded, and people are going to be suffering in slow motion -- lack of potable water, lack of food, crops ruined, mud everywhere. Per Daniyal Mueenuddin in the NY Times:

I found most pitiful a family gathered around a prostrate brown-and-white brindled cow. The father told me that the cow had been lost in the water for four days, and the previous night it had clambered up on another section of the levee, a mile away. The people of this area recognize their cattle as easily as you or I recognize a cousin or neighbor — they sleep with their animals around them at night, and graze them all day; their animals are born and die near them. Someone passing by told the family that their cow had been found, and the father went and got it and led it to their little encampment.

In the early morning the cow had collapsed, and I could see it would soon be dead. Its eyes were beginning to dull, as the owner squatted next to it, sprinkling water into its mouth, as if it were possible to revive it. Its legs were swollen from standing in water, and its chest and torso were covered with deep cuts and scrapes, sheets of raw flesh where branches rushing past must have hit it.

The rest of the family sat nearby on a string bed, resigned, waiting for the end. This was their wealth, but when it died they would tip it into the water and let it float away to the south. Through the past few days they had seen it all, houses collapsed, trees uprooted, grain spoiled, and this was just one more blow.

There's political fear as well:

The state has been criticized for failing to respond quickly enough, and Islamist charities -- at least one of which has alleged links to terrorism -- have been active in the flood-hit areas. There are also concerns the extent of the suffering could stoke social unrest and lead to political instability that may impact Pakistan's fight against the Taliban.

Kerry told reporters "we don't want additional jihadists, extremists coming out of a crisis."

Thanks to Virgin, a list of places to donate here.

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