Reports indicate that the hardships from Pakistan's earlier monsoon
floods have been exacerbated by the onslaught of winter. The
floods impacted 20 million of Pakistan's population of just over 180
million people. As the temperature dips, hundreds of thousands of
displaced children and adults are susceptible to pneumonia and other
cold related diseases. According to Director of the National Institute
of Child Health (Pakistan), Professor Jamal Raza states that the flood
victims becoming ill from cold related causes, particularly children,
could almost double from the current number.
Many are living in non-winterized tents, and there are shortages of
dry firewood and other materials, such as adequate clothing, needed to
create warmth. Further, many of the flood ravaged areas from this year's
monsoon remain covered in water and millions are still displaced.
Concurrently, many being farmers whose fields are still flooded have no
source of livelihood, and food distribution is difficult to carry out
under the circumstances.
Concerning the children, Professor Raza states that it will be an
uphill battle to save many of them as they are malnourished, and
have experienced a great deal of weight loss due to poor diet. Moreover,
their capability for immunity is very low and, accordingly, they are
susceptible to a wide range of respiratory diseases. Consequently, there
is an urgent need for blankets, quilts and better shelter to fight the
cold, as well as provisions for the obvious nutritional and medical
Reports out of Pakistan indicate a further danger caused by the
floods, the release of stored toxic chemicals into the flood waters. An
article in www.newscientist.com
reports that the floods released an estimated 3,000 tonnes of toxic
chemicals into the environment. The chemicals known as persistent
organic pollutants (POPs) include several insect repellents, such as
DDT. At the same time, many of them do not biodegrade in nature, and
are purportedly linked to hormonal, developmental and reproductive
disorders. Pakistan's floods have awakened some nations and scientists
to this ongoing threat as changes in weather patterns become more
Please consider helping the people of Pakistan through any one of them
and be sure to specify that the donation is for Pakistan flood relief if
you do make a contribution.
I am a free-lance writer/researcher who lives in Muskegon Heights, Michigan.