Angelina Jolie Using Her Star Power to Help Pakistan Flood Victims

Beautiful Hollywood star Angelina Jolie is known for her international humanitarian work as the United Nations Goodwill Ambassador. A winner of multiple awards including one Oscar and three Golden Globes, she is among the highest paid actors in the world. Jolie is currently visiting Pakistan to bring global attention to the immense suffering caused by devastating floods in the country, particularly in its southern Sindh province.  

Angelina Jolie

Pakistan is dealing with the aftermath of the worst floods in the country's history. Over 1500 Pakistanis are dead. About 33 million people in two southern provinces are homeless. Sindh is inundated with 784% of normal rainfall so far this year. Balochistan has seen 522% of average rainfall. Both provinces suffered their worst ever heatwave prior to this unprecedented deluge. Nearly a million livestock have been lost, over two million acres of farmland is underwater and 90% of the crops in Sindh and Balochistan have been damaged. 

UN Sec Gen Antonio Guterres

The United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres has described the unprecedented flooding in Pakistan as “a monsoon on steroids" that has created a massive humanitarian crisis. The country can not deal with it alone. He said Pakistan "is drowning not only in floodwater, but in debt.” Mr. Guterres has called for debt relief for developing nations such as Pakistan. “The Debt Service Suspen­sion Initiative should be ex­tended – and enhanced. We also need an effective mechanism of debt relief for developing coun­tries – including middle income countries – in debt distress. Creditors should consider debt reduction mechanisms such as debt-climate adaptation swaps.

It will take hundreds of millions of dollars to provide immediate relief to 33 million people, followed by tens of billions of dollars in assistance to rebuild the lives and livelihoods and the infrastructure destroyed by this catastrophe. Pakistan's gross capital formation is only 15% of its GDP. Among the world’s top 20 economies by population, only Egypt has a lower rate of gross capital formation than Pakistan, according to Bloomberg. It is time for the rich industrialized world to help developing nations such as Pakistan to deal with the massive impact of climate change. 

Low Gross Capital Formation in Pakistan. Source: Bloomberg 

Pakistan's population is about 2.6% of the world population. The nation has contributed just 0.28% of the cumulative global carbon emissions since 1750. It lacks the resources needed to deal with the consequences of this man-made disaster. The Industrial Revolution in Europe and the United States was fueled mainly by fossil fuels such as coal and oil believed to be responsible for climate change. 

Cumulative CO2 Emissions Since 1750. Source: Our World in Data

Below is a map from Professor Jason Hickel showing that the countries in the global north are the biggest polluters while those in the global south are the most vulnerable to the effects of climate change.  

Climate Injustice: Low Emitters Global South vs Big Polluters in In...

After viewing the flood disaster in Pakistan Jolie said: "I have never seen anything like this. I have been to Pakistan many times. I came because of the generosity that Pakistani people have shown to the people of Afghanistan. Oftentimes those who have less give more than so many other countries. The climate change is not only real but it's here.  This is a wakeup call to the world about where we are. The countries that have not done as much damage to climate are the ones that are bearing the brunt. The needs in Pakistan are now so great. I appeal to the world to help. Many of the victims here will not make it without a lot of help."

Here are some more excerpts from her press conference in Pakistan: 

"I feel overwhelmed but I feel it is not fair to say that since I am not living this." 

"I've never seen anything like this and I have been to Pakistan many times"

"I came  because of  the generosity that Pakistani people have shown to the people of Afghanistan over the years...My heart is very very much with people at this time.”

"It is often seen that the countries that don't have as much give more than so many other countries"

"I am absolutely with you in pushing the international community to do more. I feel that we say that often... we speak of aid appeals, relief and support but this is something very, very different"

"Climate change is not only real and it is not only coming, it is here,"

"I've seen the lives that were saved but I've also seen... I've been speaking to people and thinking that if enough aid doesn't come they won't be here in next few weeks... they won't make it"

"Even if they make it next few months with the winter coming and the destruction of the crops and the hard reality ... I am overwhelmed but I feel it is not fair to say that because I am not living this so I simply try to speak out for help. I can't even imagine what it feels like to be there"

"I will return and continue to return and my heart is very, very much with the people at this time"

https://youtu.be/tsHpbzF_Olg

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Comment by Riaz Haq on September 25, 2022 at 4:33pm

Faseeh Mangi

Relief goods for Pakistan flood victims 

UAE 41 flights
Turkey  13
USA  21
Oman  8
UNHCR 13
WFP 3
China  4
KSA  5
Japan 3
Qatar  4
UNICEF 3
UK 2
Russia 1
Jordan  1
Denmark  1
France  1
Uzbekistan  1
Turkmenistan  1
Nepal  1
Greece 1

Comment by Riaz Haq on September 30, 2022 at 7:03am

These bamboo shelters are empowering communities displaced by Pakistan's floods

Pakistan's "never-before-seen" floods have affected 33 million people, many of whom are still seeking safe refuge after record monsoon rains damaged or destroyed more than a million homes. The summer's catastrophic flooding, which was exacerbated by melting glaciers, has submerged one-third of the country, with authorities saying it could take up to six months for the water to recede.
To address the need for emergency housing, architect Yasmeen Lari and the Heritage Foundation of Pakistan have been working around the clock to equip people in hard-hit Sindh province with the skills and materials to construct prefabricated bamboo shelters.
The shelters, called Lari OctaGreen (LOG), can be built by six or seven people within a few hours. They were initially designed in response to a 7.5-magnitude earthquake that hit northeastern Afghanistan in 2015, with a pilot program providing temporary homes to several hundred families in neighboring Pakistan, where the majority of deaths occurred. Since 2018, more than 1,200 bamboo versions have been built in disaster-prone areas. (Pakistan is the eighth most vulnerable nation to the climate crisis according to the Global Climate Risk Index, despite European Union data showing that it is responsible for less than 1% of planet-warming gases).
The project aims to give people in disaster-stricken areas a sense of agency by teaching them how to build their own homes — and helping them generate income in the process, as many have lost their livelihoods. Communities are also taught ways to deal with future disasters, such as making aquifer trenches and wells to absorb rainwater.
"The people who are impacted want to contribute the most," Lari said in a phone interview, explaining that many of the project's artisans are from the flooded villages. They have also been helping identify who needs help and how to deliver the prefabricated parts.
"People are sitting under the sky with nothing. They are thinking: How can we work? They have no security, no privacy, no dignity," Lari said, adding that people "don't need handouts" but should, instead, be empowered.
The shelters are designed to be low cost, low tech and low in environmental impact. "I want it to be zero carbon," explained Lari, whose foundation has been entirely subsidizing the emergency homes at a cost of about 25,000 Pakistani rupees ($108) each. "I don't want to create another problem in climate change by building in concrete or steel."
Bamboo was chosen for its strength and resilience. And, because it's commonly grown throughout the country, it's easier to source. Two workshops have been established to cut the bamboo rods to specific sizes and then bundle them into kits. The shelters are assembled, on site, into eight sturdy panels and a roof that are then bound together by rope and covered with matting.
Where possible, "everything should be locally-sourced" Lari said. "This is a way to link up the production of housing with how people can earn immediately."
Comment by Riaz Haq on October 1, 2022 at 7:18am

Battered by Floods and Trapped in Debt, Pakistani Farmers Struggle to Survive
The recent flooding has plunged small farmers in sharecropping arrangements further into debt with their landlords — a cycle that has worsened as extreme weather events become increasingly common.

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/10/01/world/asia/pakistan-flood-farmer...

NAWABSHAH, Pakistan — The young woman waded into the waist-deep floodwater that covered her farmland, scouring shriveled stalks of cotton for the few surviving white blooms. Every step she took in the warm water was precarious: Her feet sank into the soft earth. Snakes glided past her. Swarms of mosquitoes whirred in her ears.

But the farmworker — Barmeena, just 14 — had no choice. “It was our only source of livelihood,” she told visiting New York Times journalists.

She is one of the millions of farmworkers whose fields were submerged by the record-shattering floods that have swept across Pakistan. In the hardest-hit regions, where the floods drowned entire villages, the authorities have warned that the floodwater may not fully recede for months.

Still, wherever the water has receded even a bit, farm laborers are scrambling to salvage whatever they can from the battered remains of their cotton and rice harvests. It is desperate work. Many already owe hundreds or thousands of dollars to the landlords whose fields they cultivate each year, as part of a system that has long governed much of rural Pakistan.

Each planting season, the landlords offer the farmers loans to buy fertilizer and seeds. In exchange, the farmers cultivate their fields and earn a small cut of the harvest, a portion of which goes toward repaying the loan.


But now, their summer harvests are in ruins. Unless the water recedes, they will not be able to plant the wheat they harvest each spring. Even if they can, the land is certain to produce less after being damaged by the floodwaters, from a cataclysmic combination of heavy glacier melt and record monsoon rains, which scientists say were both intensified by climate change.

Such extreme weather events that damage crop yields and sink farmers into mounting debt are becoming increasingly common, and are unlikely to end. In recent years, the unpredictability of the seasons has led some members of farming households to migrate to cities as farmers look for more stable jobs. That, in turn, has landlords worried about a coming farm labor shortage, they say.

But other farmers feel they have no choice but to stay.

“Our life goes like that — sinking into debt, not earning the money to pay it back, and then we do it again,” said Mairaj Meghwar, 40, a farmer who lives in the village of Lal Muhammad in Sindh Province, the region that sustained the most flood damage.

Comment by Riaz Haq on October 3, 2022 at 9:13am

#FloodsInPakistan2022: #UN ups #flood #aid appeal as #Pakistan enters ‘second wave of death’. World body now seeks $816m for flood-relief efforts, up from initial appeal in August for $160m. #Sindh https://aje.io/3ib0ch via @AJEnglish

Islamabad, Pakistan – The United Nations has increased its aid appeal for Pakistan, where more than five million people are facing a severe food crisis in the wake of recent catastrophic floods.

Nearly 1,700 people, including more than 600 children, lost their lives and a total 33 million people were affected after record-breaking rains began lashing Pakistan in June.

Julien Harneis, the UN’s humanitarian coordinator for the country, said on Monday that the world body was now seeking $816m for flood-relief efforts, up from its initial appeal for $160m in August, when heavy rains and floods swept through much of Pakistan.

“We are now entering a second wave of death and destruction. There will be an increase in child morbidity, and it will be terrible unless we act rapidly to support the government in increasing the provision of health, nutrition and water and sanitation services across the affected areas,” Harneis told reporters at a media briefing in Geneva.


The Pakistani government and UN have both repeatedly blamed climate change for the floods and sought debt relief as a means to support the country.

In its latest report on Saturday, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said 8.62 million people in 28 assessed districts were estimated to be in crisis and enduring the emergency phases of food security between September and November 2022, “including some 5.74 million people in flood-affected districts covered by the assessment”.

The OCHA report also noted that “water-borne and vector-borne diseases” are of “growing concern”, particularly in the hard-hit provinces of Sindh and Balochistan.

It added that close to 1.6 million women of reproductive age, including nearly 130,000 pregnant women, need urgent health services.

Addressing the UN General Assembly late last month, Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said his country has been facing the wrath of climate crisis – even though it had little responsibility in causing it.

“Pakistan has never seen a starker and more devastating example of the impact of global warming … Nature has unleashed her fury on Pakistan without looking at our carbon footprint, which is next to nothing. Our actions did not contribute to this,” he said.

Comment by Riaz Haq on October 5, 2022 at 7:39am

This summer, devastating floods in Pakistan submerged entire villages and marooned residents. As of mid-September, around 1,500 people are known to have died, and more than 33 million people have been displaced. Scientists say that climate change has made extreme rain in South Asia more likely. Widespread cases of malaria, dengue fever and Covid-19 have exacerbated the strain on the country’s infrastructure.

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/09/29/insider/a-trip-to-cover-pakistan...

Christina Goldbaum, a New York Times correspondent based in Dubai, applied for a visa to enter Pakistan in early September, after another round of floods gushed through, to cover the disaster. She traveled by plane to Islamabad and then to Karachi, and finally by car to the Dadu District, one of the country’s worst-affected areas, in the Sindh Province. Once she arrived in townthe only means of travel was by boat. She worked with Zia ur-Rehman, another reporter, and Kiana Hayeri and Saiyna Bashir, two photographers.

In an interview, Ms. Goldbaum discussed their coverage and what the future might hold for the land as the climate becomes more extreme. This conversation has been edited.

Climate Forward There’s an ongoing crisis — and tons of news. Our newsletter keeps you up to date. Get it in your inbox.
What was it like when you first arrived?

When we got to Dadu, we had already heard from folks that Dadu was one of the worst-hit districts by the flooding. We went to what used to be a bus stop taking people from the city to other smaller towns that had turned into kind of a dock. The road just ended, and where there had been farmland was a lake. Tons of fishermen from the south had brought their wooden motorboats here, and they were taking people from that bus station to their villages if they were still above water.

To get to the most affected areas, we hopped into a boat and took it out across the water. We were passing homes that had been half-submerged, villages where maybe one or two houses were still there. And in some of them, there were still either entire families or a single man who stayed behind to protect valuables.

-----------

A lot of people we’ve been talking to have also brought up this sinking realization that, especially for farmers, the crisis has really only just begun.

Comment by Riaz Haq on October 6, 2022 at 7:28am

#Tent cities popping up for #IDPs after #FloodsInPakistan2022. Levees built in #Pakistan to contain the #Indus overflow floods are preventing the rainstorm water from draining into the #river, resulting in standing water in the fields and homes in #Sindh. https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2022/10/pakistan-...

The official emergency simulations made assumptions that highways to transport relief goods would remain intact. In the event, more than 5,000 miles of roads were washed away, and some routes were covered by 10 feet of water.

The country’s needs are changing too rapidly for the government to cope. At first, it scrambled to source tents and tarpaulins, because its own inventory did not cover even a fraction of what was called for. Then it struggled to provide clean drinking water because so many local sources were contaminated. And the demands for resources keep piling up: mosquito nets; birthing facilities for pregnant women; antivenom medicine, because any dry land is infested with snakes flooded out of their regular habitat; fodder, fencing, and veterinary care for people’s livestock.

The government initially had difficulty even finding dry areas on which to place camps for the displaced. Then, when they were established, many people avoided them because they couldn’t take their livestock. In agrarian Pakistan, buffalo are considered “black gold”; owning one changes a family’s entire livelihood. As a result, thousands of families camped wherever they could—on roadsides, on embankments, or anywhere with shelter. The government had no ready way to track where anyone was and who needed what.

Some of the post-monsoon mess stems from prior administrative incompetence. The provincial governments in Sindh and Balochistan did not have a comprehensive evacuation plan in case of flash floods. Maintenance problems meant that many of the canals had not been dredged effectively, and the country’s infrastructure for shedding water was simply overwhelmed. As if this was not scandal enough, Pakistan’s chief meteorologist was accused of embezzlement and dismissed after the rains had come.

Worse, some of the flooding was exacerbated by man-made measures taken earlier to control flooding. In 2010, Pakistan was hit by a disastrous “super flood” caused by the swollen Indus River overflowing its banks. In the aftermath, the government raised the river’s embankments. This time, when the exceptional monsoon rains came, the Indus stayed within its regular seasonal flow—but those higher levees were now holding back the stormwater from draining into the river.

Another part of the mess is simply the sort of chaos intrinsic to natural disasters. Sindh’s education minister issued an order to all the relief camps to establish schools for the displaced children of the new tent cities. Local officials in some districts understood this to mean that all the school buildings that had been adapted to make relief accommodation had to revert to functioning as schools. To obey the ministerial guidance, they evicted flood victims from classrooms in the middle of the night so that regular schooling could resume. No students showed up in the morning, of course, and no one knows where those people went.

Such problems were exacerbated by institutional overreach and failures of coordination. Sindh’s high court elbowed its way into relief distribution and ordered the government to set up committees headed by judges to monitor the work. As a result, when aid trucks were handed over to district commissioners, many officials refused to distribute any supplies until the judges came in person. The commissioners say they don’t want to risk being hauled before courts. Meanwhile, people saw trucks lined up with goods they couldn’t access, which led to suspicion that officials were misappropriating the aid. And because crisis profiteering occurs in every disaster, scattered instances of hoarding are seen as proof of widespread corruption.

Comment by Riaz Haq on October 6, 2022 at 7:29am

#Tent cities popping up for #IDPs after #FloodsInPakistan2022. Levees built in #Pakistan to contain the #Indus overflow floods are preventing the rainstorm water from draining into the #river, resulting in standing water in the fields and homes in #Sindh. https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2022/10/pakistan-...


More of the mess involves wrangling over difficult decisions and their political costs. To help the floodwaters drain, relief cuts have to be dug. But in almost every case, these cuts will result in collateral damage to villages and fields. And those affected are not easily persuaded that choices about the sites of these drainage ditches have been based on purely technical considerations. The existing deficit of trust between the people and government creates a rumor mill about how such flood-remediation measures are a means of settling political scores by deluging opponents’ property.

The flooding has not led to any abatement in the country’s political turmoil. The populist political opposition led by former Prime Minister Imran Khan is continuing its rallies and campaigns, heckling ministers during appeals for flood donations. His party tacitly encourages its followers to use social media to lobby world leaders not to assist the government with aid, claiming that the money will be siphoned off. So what is true locally also applies nationally: The suffering of the rural poor in the flood zone has become partisan hackery.

Salma, a schoolteacher and nonprofit worker (I learned only her first name), fled with her family from her home in the Sindh countryside to Karachi. Her district of Shahdadkot is still under feet of water. “I’ve heard the buzzwords,” she told me. “Climate adaptation and whatnot, telling us to change the way we build our houses, change the way we live. Why don’t you tell the rest of the world that? To change the way it lives? Why should we adapt to the consequences of their actions?”

Her point: Pakistan contributes less than 1 percent to the world’s greenhouse gases, yet it is now suffering disproportionately from the effects of global warming. According to World Weather Attribution estimates, the monsoon rains from June to August were 50 percent more intense than they would have been had the climate not already warmed by 1.2 degrees Celsius. Scientists debate exactly how much of this year’s rain flooding is due to climate change, but most agree that past data are no longer a predictive guide. The summer floods followed an unusual springtime heat wave of 50-degree temperatures, forest fires, and crop destruction. Monsoon depressions typically travel north to south in the country, losing intensity as they go. This time, repeated storm cycles hit the south first and stayed there.

The federal and provincial governments are trying frantically to control the damage. Some cash has already been disbursed to the neediest in the flooded areas, and a wider compensation scheme for deaths and losses such as damaged homes, lost livestock, and destroyed crops has been promised. The estimated losses caused by the floods are equivalent to 10 percent of the country’s economic output—at a time when the country was already drowning in debt. The government had been in talks with the IMF about a bailout, barring which Pakistan was sure to default. The loan has now been approved—but with stringent conditions such as ending fuel subsidies, which will make everything more expensive.

Comment by Riaz Haq on October 7, 2022 at 8:04am

#FloodsInPakistan2022: 'Cascading calamities' in #Pakistan drive #UnitedNations to quadruple funding appeal to $816 million. #UN chief António Guterres has called for "serious action" on loss and damage at next month's #COP27 #climate talks in Egypt. https://news.sky.com/story/cascading-calamities-in-pakistan-drive-u...

Rich polluting countries like the UK have a "moral responsibility" to help Pakistan recover from deadly flooding fuelled by climate change, the United Nations has said as the body quadruples its funding appeal.

The revised UN plan to help Pakistan recover from this summer's deadly flooding now calls for $816m (£728m) - a surge of $656m (£589m) from the initial appeal - just to cover the most urgent needs until next May.

In spite of the huge increase, the new figure still "pales in comparison to what is needed," to cover food, water, health and sanitation, shelter and emergency education, secretary-general António Guterres said.

The flooding has left more than three million children hungry, killed more than 1,300 people and inflicted an estimated $30bn (£26bn) in financial losses.

"These cascading calamities in Pakistan can linger for years to come," Mr Guterres warned today.

He told the United Nations General Assembly the "central question remains the climate crisis... greenhouse gas emissions are rising along with climate calamities".

"In particular, wealthier countries bear a moral responsibility to help places such as Pakistan recover, adapt and build resilience to disasters supercharged by the climate crisis," he said.

The group of 20 (G20) large economies, which includes the UK, USA, European Union and China, are responsible for 80% of all the world's greenhouse gas pollution.

The 2022 monsoon rainfall in Pakistan has been nearly three times higher than the 30-year average. Climate scientists agree that climate breakdown is making such weather extremes more likely, and intensified the rain in Pakistan this year.


Comment by Riaz Haq on October 9, 2022 at 4:48pm

Pakistan is the victim of “a grim calculus of climate injustice”, said UN Secretary-General António Guterres, while calling on industrialised nations that drive 80 per cent of climate-destroying emissions to help the country recover, adapt and build resilience to disasters.

https://www.dawn.com/news/1714207

While concluding a debate on the devastation caused by the recent floods, the UN chief called help for Pakistan a “moral responsibility” of industrialised nations.

“This time it is Pakistan, tomorrow, it could be any of our countries and our communities,” he added.

On Friday, the UNGA unanimously adopted a resolution urging donor nations and institutions to provide full support to rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts.

Mr Guterres, who recently visited Pakistan, told the UNGA that flood waters covered a landmass three times the total area of his own country, Portugal.

“Pakistan is on the verge of a public health disaster”, he warned, adding that now cholera, malaria and dengue fever could take “far more lives than the floods”.

In another appeal for help, the UN refugee agency said on Saturday that it urgently needed relief goods for more than 650,000 people.

UNHCR Spokesperson Matthew Saltmarsh said Pakistan was facing “a colossal challenge” and more support were needed.

In its latest estimates, UNHCR has recorded at least 1,700 deaths; 12,800 injured, including at least 4,000 children; some 7.9 million displacements; and nearly 600,000 living in relief sites.

Comment by Riaz Haq on October 11, 2022 at 2:06pm

#Education activist #MalalaYousafzai returns to #Pakistan to support flood victims. The Nobel Peace Prize laureate landed in #Karachi Tuesday and will stay in #Sindh to show solidarity with #flood victims. #FloodsInPakistan2022 https://abcn.ws/3Cttwql

The extreme flooding this summer, caused by fierce monsoon rains, killed nearly 1,700 people, injured another 13,000 and affected over 33 million, according to Pakistan's National Disaster Management Authority. Millions of acres of crops were damaged and 18,000 schools were destroyed, impacting over 3 million children, officials said.

"Extreme flooding in Pakistan is sweeping away houses, schools and communities," Yousafzai tweeted in August, noting that millions have been affected, "including in my home of Swat Valley."

Her organization Malala Fund said it has been working to mitigate the impact of the flooding on girls' access to education as well as help provide funding to partners that are providing direct flood relief.

Yousafzai's return to Pakistan comes a decade after she survived an assassination attempt ordered by the Taliban because she spoke out for the right of all girls to go to school. On Oct. 9, 2012, on her way home from school, a Taliban terrorist stopped her school van, identified Malala, then 15, and shot her in the head.

A school van carrying female students was fired upon on Monday in Yousafzai's native Swat Valley, killing the driver. Thousands of people in the region protested against increased violence in the region on Tuesday.

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