Friday, August 20, 2010

Pakistan Needs Your Help

The recent flooding in Pakistan is, by accounts, the worst that country has experienced in 80 years. Over 15 million people -- some accounts estimate as much as 20 million -- have been affected. The full effect of this disaster may not be felt or even tallied till much later. And yet, by August 12, donations to help Pakistan's relief efforts were merely one-quarter of the Haiti response ( I'm sure there are many reasons for the huge gap in responses. One that I've read often is "donor fatigue." That makes perfect sense. There are many organizations that clamor after us for funding on a regular basis, and then we've had what seems to be one major catastrophe after another (Tsunami, Haiti earthquake, Pakistan flooding, etc.). The BBC's Ros Atkins muses over several other possible explanations. But I don't care about the reasons. I only care about changing this situation. Pakistan needs our help. No, forget that. PEOPLE in Pakistan need our help. We're talking about the average folks over there -- forget for just a moment about the government of Pakistan, and their military, or whatever you have in your head because of the war on terror. Think instead of the folks who are just trying to get buy and make do for their families. People like you and me in many respects. These are people who have lost everything and need help just to survive another day. The need clean water, shelter, medication, and a whole host of other things that many of us are quite possibly taking for granted. [photo from]
The best way to help them right now is by monetary donations. Later, we might be able to help with clothes drives and campaigns to collect other necessities, but right now relief efforts are hampered by a lack of funding. Here are some ways you can change that.
  • Text "swat" to 50555 -- this sends a $10 donation to the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees that will go toward providing tents, food, clothing, and clean water. (Reply with "yes" to confirm the gift.)
  • Text FLOODS to 864233 -- this helps get relief DIRECTLY to the CHILDREN of Pakistan by sending a $10 donation to UNICEF.
  • UNICEF -- If you are nervous about texting to donate money, use the form on this page, or use the info to call or print a snail mail form, to send your donation to UNICEF
  • Yahoo News -- has a list of suggestions for donating money.
  • Tonic -- also has an extensive compilation of ways to donate and help.
There is no concert event. There is no Bob Geldof or other celebrity taking charge and calling our attention to help. But that's OK. We are strong enough, we are caring enough, and we have it in us to help. No matter how small the donation. Please, do your part today.