Help for climate disaster victims: Pakistan and Niger

Niger under water (BBC)

It would seem aid for beleaguered Pakistan is not coming fast enough, and “donor fatigue” is partly to blame:

AID organisations and the United Nations have expressed alarm that the plight of millions of Pakistani flood victims is failing to strike a sufficiently sympathetic nerve among donors.

With aid trickling in far more slowly than needed, they cite a variety of factors for the sluggish reaction. These include international media coverage, a relatively low death toll, preoccupation with economic problems and donor fatigue from natural disasters.

Michael Tobis also reminds us that other tragedies are taking place, well outside the media spotlight:

Niger is now facing the worst hunger crisis in its history, the UN’s World Food Programme says, with almost half the population – or 7.3 million people – in desperate need of food.

A WFP spokesman said villagers in Niger described the situation as worse than 2005, when thousands died of hunger.

After a prolonged drought, heavy rains have now hit parts of the country, killing at least six people.

The WFP says 17% of children, or one in five, are acutely malnourished…

 The UN said more than 67,000 people lost their homes after severe rains in the past week.

The River Niger – the third largest in Africa – reached its highest level for 80 years, said the regional river authority, the ABN.

But the rains came too late to rescue this year’s crops, which have already failed.

“This year was a double whammy,” Christy Collins of the aid agency Mercy Corps told the Associated Press news agency.

In most years, even if the country’s primary crop fail, at least the secondary crops survive, she explained.

This year there was so little rain during the growing season that not only did the fields of millet not bloom, but the secondary greens used for animal fodder also failed.

Not only are many villagers going short of food, but their livestock – their only asset – have died off.

Severe drought, then extreme rains and flooding.

Does that sound like something predicted by scientists?  

I’ve supported Medecins Sans Frontieres for several years now, if you are inclined please donate.

There are of course many other worthy charities doing wonderful work helping those affected by extreme weather events.  

The most vulnerable people to human-induced climate change are those least responsible for it.


4 thoughts on “Help for climate disaster victims: Pakistan and Niger

  1. Fred Orth says:

    I’m very much with you in support of MSF.

  2. adelady says:

    One of my husband’s friends has relatives in one of the affected areas. The local Pakistani community had a meeting about this on the weekend, so we’re following their advice on where to direct our donations.

  3. Open question: what are some ethical approaches to balance between (1) providing true hope to those living in profound deprivation (2) stewardship of natural resources for the benefit of endless generations of humans.

    As we have seen, those cringing sycophants of those who would leave fossil fuels under-taxed would claim *zero* responsibility for environmental stewardship for future generations. There cravenness makes them self-refuting.

    But if humanity has a boundless ability to ignore the suffering of distant unfamiliar others, why *should* such humanity persist for endless generations?

    Unfortunately, I think a moral responsibility, active and alive, first must become pervasive — a moral responsibility to both alleviating human deprivation no matter how distant or foreign and environmental stewardship for future generations. From history, we have seen such moral progress takes generations (like the ongoing moral battle against slavery). I think it will be likely that breakdowns in modern agriculture and transport will make human populations a hundredth or a thousandth of current, before we have a reasonable chance of such moral responsibility becoming pervasive.

    • Watching the Deniers says:

      Moe G, as always some good points worth considering. I’m going to throw this open as a question for discussion.

      Mike @ WTD

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