Saturday, August 21, 2010

Pakistan: A Slow-Motion Tsunami

2010 could go down in history as the year of natural and environmental disasters. We’ve witnessed earthquakes in Haiti and Chile, wildfires and a drought in Russia, a devastating oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, and now one fifth of Pakistan is submerged under water due to floods leaving more than 20 million people without potable water, food, shelter and medicine.

The United Nations general secretary, Ban Ki-moon, called this latest disaster a "slow-motion tsunami," and appealed for swift aid.

"Make no mistake, this is a global disaster," Ban said at the UN general assembly. "Pakistan is facing a slow-motion tsunami. Its destructive powers will accumulate and grow with time," he warned.

Relief agencies say the humanitarian crisis unfolding in Pakistan is greater than this year's earthquake in Haiti; however, relief for Pakistan may be a long time coming.

According to a CBS news report, sixteen days after the Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004, aid commitments totaled $1.4 billion. Sixteen days after Pakistan's floods began, promises added up to just $200 million.

Yet despite the heart-wrenching television images

broadcast across the globe showing massive destruction and enormous human suffering, the world has been slow to react to calls for aid. Why has Pakistan been forsaken?

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