DEC Appeal for “Worst Flooding in History of Pakistan” – Climate for Welsh Action

NB – updated early October 2022, initial publication 31 August.

A UK Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) Appeal for Pakistan by the end of September has raised £0.9m in Wales alone – and over £25m at a UK level.

The appeal will remain open for 6 months, and will be given an additional ‘boost’ during the week of 10th October, with the initial media appeal having been overshadowed by the appointment of a new Prime Minister and Government, and the passing of Queen Elizabeth II.

The need in Pakistan remains enormous, with 11 DEC member charities responding to the disaster with provision of shelter, food, water and medical aid still being big priorities in October. The DEC’s work is being urged forwards as humanitarian workers on the ground have sounded the alarm on the spread of water borne diseases as a result of stagnant waters; and of course fears of hunger on the horizon give the vast swathes of agricultural land that has been affected.  

Internationalists and communities Wales-wide, from early September onwards, sought ways to take action to support the people of Pakistan affected by “the worst flooding in the history of the country – as recognised by Dr Fahad Saeed of the Islamabad-based Climate Analytics Group – with 33 million people across a third of the country displaced by surging waters that have already claimed at least 1,100 lives.

Unusually heavy monsoon rains have lashed large parts of the country. Flash floods fuelled by the climate crisis have affected more than 33 million people, according to officials. 75% of Balochistan, the country’s largest and most impoverished province, has been affected by floods, and much of neighbouring Sindh province is under water. Pakistan has more glaciers than anywhere beyond the polar regions – 7,532 – making it one of the countries most exposed to extreme weather, and to the macro impacts of global climate change.

Pakistan’s Climate Change Minister Sherry Rehman has described the catastrophe as ‘Ground Zero for Climate Change‘, explaining that “Eight weeks of non-stop torrents have left huge swathes of the country underwater. This is a deluge from all sides. It is a huge humanitarian disaster, I would call it quite apocolyptic.”

International Response

International Aid charity Islamic Relief is leading humanitarian efforts across Pakistan alongside in-country partners, and other global development charities involved with the UK’s DEC, Disasters Emergency Committee – who on Thursday 1 September announced launch of the Pakistan Floods DEC Appeal.

The British Red Cross has sent funding from their ‘Disaster Fund’, which is largely supported by businesses to support “forgotten emergencies and first response”.  This has gone to the International Federation of the Red Cross/Red Crescent who are giving logistic support to Pakistan Red Crescent on the ground.  All donations to this Disaster Fund will be ring fenced to Pakistan.  You can donate to Red Cross here.

United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres launched the UN’s Flash Appeal for Pakistan, appealing to UN members: “the scale of needs is rising like the flood waters.  It requires the world’s collective and prioritized attention. The United Nations is issuing a Flash Appeal for $160 million to support the response, led by the Government of Pakistan. These funds will provide 5.2 million people with food, water, sanitation, emergency education, protection and health support.”

UK Response

The UK Government has announced £1.5 million in aid to Pakistan. However, critics – including the House of Commons’ own all-party International Development Committee (IDC) – have denounced the response so far as “embarassing” and “”risible,” amounting to 5 pence per person for each of the millions affected. It is also noted that the money comes from existing funds already committed to development work in Pakistan , thereby representing a diversion away from long term education, health care and economic programmes. IDC Chairman Sarah Champion publicly wrote to Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, “Even if the full £1.5m were delivered, it would amount to less than 5p for each person affected. That pathetically small sum will be subtracted from ‘existing support to Pakistan’. The UK Government’s risible response to this humanitarian disaster arguably amounts to nothing.”

What can we do from Wales?

WCIA join Welsh Civil Society organisations, aid groups and communities – in particular Wales’ Pakistani Diaspora Community – in calling for the UK Government to fund a contribution towards the UN’s £160 million Pakistan Floods Appeal that reflects not just the UK’s position as fifth richest country in the world, but responsibilities as one of the most longstanding drivers of climate change, which is now disproportiuonately impacting the world’s poorest people including in Pakistan.

Ideas for Taking Action:

  • Donate to Islamic Relief’s Pakistan Floods Appeal or the British Red Cross Disaster Fund.
  • Write to your MP (Member of Parliament) and ask them to call on the UK Foreign Office to fund the UN Pakistan Floods Appeal.
  • Contact your MS (Senedd Member) and ask them how they can support efforts to aid Pakistan,
  • Sign up to Climate Cymru and support action and advocacy efforts on climate change.
  • Learn (or Teach!) about Climate Change, using wide range of resources available on Hwb for all stages of the Welsh Curriculum.
  • Find out if there are Pakistani Diaspora communities within your local area, who might be directly supporting affected communities in Pakistan.
  • Use resources such as ‘Teens Health – Disasters: How to Help‘ to share ideas with others in your school, youth or community group.
  • Think about ‘Good vs Bad Aid’ – Give money rather than objects: donated materials such as clothes or food are difficult to transport or distribute, unsuitable for local needs, and undermine local economies. Take saleable items to charity shops such as Oxfam, where they can be turned into cash towards local partners in Pakistan.
  • Speak out and encourage friends and family to support positive action to help Pakistan.

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