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Campus works to aid victims of Pakistan flood disaster

A plethora of new problems continue to arise as a result of the ongoing flooding crisis in Pakistan. The death toll has reached over 1,700 people, and it is expected as floodwaters recede that many more bodies will be found. According to CNN, about 20 million people still need help. The United Nations reported 800,000 acute respiratory infections, 183,000 cases of suspected malaria, and almost 1 million cases of skin disease, along with many other serious health problems. Poor sanitation, water-borne illnesses, and cramped living conditions of refugees continue to escalate these problems.

The UN announced last week that it plans to seek more than $1.5 billion† to contribute to more aid in Pakistan, totaling to more than $2 billion. Only a small portion of the funds allocated have been received as of now. The UN has also set up more than 1,000 health clinics across Pakistan.

Along with disease, food shortages and homeless refugees are becoming increasingly prominent issues. The World Food Programme estimates somewhere around 17 million acres of farmland have been destroyed by the flooding, many still entirely submerged underwater. As an effect, food prices have skyrocketed, leaving many flood victims unable to afford food for themselves. The WFP hopes to feed at least 6 million people every month, and they plan to start food-for-work programs in the coming weeks and months. Many refugees who fled at the initial flooding have begun to attempt to return home through treacherous waters, often without a boat or shelter from the hot sun. With strong undercurrents, disease and overheating, this journey has turned deadly for many already, and impossible for others.

Although the crisis in Pakistan is losing its spotlight in the news, it is by no means over. According to CNN, following his announcement of the increased funding the UN is seeking for the aid effort, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon called the floods in Pakistan, “the worst natural disaster the United Nations has responded to in it’s 65-year history,” President Barack Obama authorized emergency funds of up to 33 million dollars last week from the Emergency Refugee and Migration Assistance Fund.

Efforts are also being made in the College community to raise awareness and funds through a collaboration of students. Brandon Jacobs ’11 has organized the event Rivals Raising Relief that continues through this Saturday. The College of Wooster and Ohio Wesleyan University will be competing to see who can collect the most canned foods and non-perishable items to send to Pakistani aid relief. Donation boxes can be found across campus. Last Wednesday Hanna Yousuf ’12, Ambassador for Pakistan, spoke at the event, “What do you know about Pakistan being underwater?” The event was hosted by The Center for Diversity and Global Engagement’s Ambassadors Program, First–Year Seminar and the Department of Geology. The purpose was to spread awareness across the college community of the impact of the flooding in Pakistan. Other students have collaborated to create posters and share information among different student groups. The posters featured around campus were made by Amun Nadeem ’11. Maaz Khan ’11 and Mohammad Bilal Paracha ’11 have been meeting with different student groups to try and motivate more involvement.† The easiest way to donate to the cause is to text “SWAT” to 50555 to donate $10 to UNHCR. If you wish to donate to another organization, you can securely donate online through Paypal by going to Imrankhanfoundation.com.

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