Relief Aid Sites.Forgive Pakistan debt?Sindh Heritage site safe? Maps.Photos.
Links for info on Donations. Relief Aid Desperately
Needed for Families in Pakistan
How to donate to the poor during disaster => personal considerations
Survivors ask, “What now?”
Forgive Pakistan’s Debt
National Heritage flooding
United Nations to Discuss Pakistan
. . . and more as you scroll down.
Thank you for visiting our site. If you would like to share your experience in Pakistan
or photos, contact us at our email. Vicki and Andy email@example.com
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with a Note from Pakistan Please click the title for the full article.
Asad Zaidi has allowed me to share the photos he has taken so you can understand the situation of Pakistani families.
Hans Zomer has been kind to send in a comment on the AsnycnowRadio blog in which he included very important information. He shared the two web links below which contain valuable information about making donations.
Irish Aid http://www.HowYouCanHelp.ie
A Guide to Assisting the Poor in Times of Disaster. http://www.howyoucanhelp.ie/documents/theguide.pdf
Organizations respected for using donations properly.
International Rescue Committee http://www.theirc.org
Save the Children
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Western Union -Donate to Pakistan Relief EffortsWestern Union has a special page for sending donations to Pakistan on the Internet. If you are not comfortable with sending money through the Internet they also list the Western Union agents so you can find the one nearest to you.
Send from any Agent location in the United States and from participating Agent locations in the United Kingdom as well as select countries in the Middle East including Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.Money transfer fees will be $0* for any amount you send to Pakistan from 12th August to 12th September.
Western Union has teamed up with the International Rescue Committee (IRC)a non-profit organization that responds to the world’s worst humanitarian crises and helps people to survive and rebuild their lives.
“The International Rescue Committee is responding to the devastation caused by severe monsoon season rains and extensive flash flooding throughout Pakistan. The flooding has killed more than a thousand people and has caused widespread damage that has forced villagers in remote regions to flee their homes. Continue . . .
Please go here for more details on How to Donate and organizations working to Aid Pakistan Families
Posted by Peter Biro on August 18th, 2010 The International Rescue Committee’s Peter Biro is travelling in western Pakistan where the IRC is delivering aid to victims of the worst flooding in Pakistan’s history. In a rare reprieve from the heavy monsoon rains, Zubadia Razia, 20, walks through the mud and rubble that was once her home. She is looking for a suitcase she kept clothes in, but it is nowhere to be found. This area, near the city of Peshawar, was wiped out in Pakistan’s worst flooding in living memory. So far, the deluge has killed over 1,600 people, displaced some 20 million people, washed away crops and farm animals and overwhelmed the Pakistani government. “This is what’s left of our house,” Razia says, gesturing toward a pile of rubble, her voice filled with despair. “We were 13 people living here and now everything is gone.”
As fierce rains continue to pound much of Pakistan, the people here are wondering what to do next. Food prices have soared and the livelihoods of entire villages have been washed away. All around us corn and wheat fields are under water.
“My husband made a living from selling ice cream,” Razia says, pointing to a small wooden vending cart, its twisted wheels buried in the rubble. “I stitch clothes for a living, but my sewing machine is also lost.”
Normally Razia’s family spends 350 rupees, or four U.S. dollars, per day on food. With any possibility of earning a living now shattered, the family is surviving on handouts and money borrowed from friends and relatives.
“We receive rice from people around us who can afford to give it away,” Zubadia says.
Poor sanitary conditions and a lack of safe drinking water have created the potential for serious outbreaks of disease. Health officials have confirmed at least one case of cholera in northwestern Pakistan and diarrhea and skin disease have started to spread. The United Nations has warned that a shortage of aid money is threatening six million people, the majority of them children and infants, with potentially lethal diseases carried by contaminated water. As a first step to thwart the spread of disease, my IRC colleagues are distributing water purification tablets. The next critical step, they tell me, is to bring clean water via tanker trucks to the devastated communities.
“With most of the infrastructure destroyed and supplies overstretched, this will be no easy task,” says Tammy Hasselfeldt, who runs IRC programs in Pakistan.
Not far from Razia’s wrecked house lies the Azakhel camp, which has been a home for refugees fleeing war and conflict in Afghanistan for over three decades. Now it’s all gone. When the banks of the Kabul River burst, almost all the mud houses were turned into clay mounds and twisted debris, leaving some 30,000 people homeless. Mattresses, twisted bed frames and fans lie buried in thick mud. The stench of rotting carcasses of livestock fills the hot midday air and in the pools of stagnant water, insects are visibly breeding. Hasselfeldt says malaria is a growing threat.
Most of the Afghan refugees are now taking shelter nearby, in tents by the side of the Grand Trunk road, once part of the legendary Silk Road and now a busy highway.
One of the Afghans, Serdar Wali, has been squatting under a tarpaulin for more than two weeks. “What are we going to do now?” he says with a bitter smile as heavy trucks roar by a couple of meters away. “Once again, we are refugees.”
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Pakistan ‘deserves’ $53 billion foreign debt write-off
By Raja Riaz August 19, 2010 Daily Times Your Right to Know A New Voice for Pakistan
LAHORE: At a time when Pakistan faces challenges such as terrorism and devastating floods, international financial institutions and donor countries should step forward and write off the country’s massive $53 billion debt to guarantee the Pakistani people the ‘right to life’.
International laws, the UN charter, ethics and morality all support Pakistan’s case for getting a write-off.
Pakistan can refuse to pay its all external debts on the basis of international laws: ‘the state of necessity’ and ‘the law of illegitimate borrowings’, besides emphasising ‘the right of providing basic necessities’ to its population.
Various countries have invoked these laws at different times to get relief for their people from the international financial institutions and states. The first principle that can be invoked for the purpose is the law of ‘the state of necessity.’ The state of necessity defence is enshrined in Article 25 of the International Law Commission’s Articles on State Responsibility. Under international law, this term is used to describe: “A situation in the presence of which a state is excused for not performing an international obligation. Such a situation is generally believed to be an actual threat or a prospective peril to a state’s essential interests. From an operational point of view, a ‘state of necessity’ has the ability to change into a legitimate action a conduct that would otherwise be considered wrongful.”
The focal person of the Committee for Abolition of Third World Debt (CADTM), Pakistan chapter, Khaliq Shah, has supported this argument. “Pakistan must refuse debt servicing on external loans. In view of the devastation caused by floods, Pakistan has a legal right to repudiate debt as there are several arguments in internal laws that can be invoked as legal justification to refuse external debt servicing. One of these justifications is called ‘state of necessity’. By this we mean a situation that jeopardises the existence of a state or its economic/political survival,” he said.
The provision of health, education, food, water and housing is the basic function of a state. The recent calamity in Pakistan has rendered hundreds of thousands of people homeless. International donor agencies waived off the loans of Haiti in January this year due to the same reason.
The IMF waived a debt of $268 million given to Haiti. Following the decision of the IMF, the World Bank also eased the life of Haitians by deferring repayment of its debt for five years. The World Bank announced that “it, too, supports debt relief, and will waive payments on the $38 million lent to Haiti for at least five years.”
The IMF also sanctioned a fresh loan worth $60 million to Haiti stating, “The new loan will not have any interest throughout 2011.” The IMF and the World Bank had cancelled Haiti’s $1.2 billion debt in 2009 as well.
The international community pledged $5.3 billion to fund the initial phase of Haiti’s reconstruction over the next 18 months, including a contribution of $479 million by the World Bank. This includes $151 million in grants, $39 million write-offs through cancelling Haiti’s remaining debt to the World Bank and $60 million in investments from the bank’s private sector arm, the International Finance Corporation (IFC).
All these steps were taken citing the fact that the earthquake had ruined the infrastructure of the country, making the state unable to provide the basic necessities to its people.
The Haitian government reported to the international community that an estimated 230,000 people had died, 300,000 had been injured and one million made homeless. They also estimated that 250,000 and 30,000 had collapsed or were severely damaged. Amongst the widespread devastation and damage, vital necessary to respond to the disaster was severely damaged or destroyed. This included all hospitals in the capital; air, sea, and land transport facilities; and communication systems. Roads were blocked with or were broken.
The world community fully supported the government of Haiti in rescue operations: 20 countries sent military personnel to the country, with Canada, the United States and the Dominican Republic providing the largest contingents. The arrived with 600,000 emergency food rations, 100,000 ten-litre water containers, and an enhanced wing of 19 helicopters; 130,000 litres of were transferred to shore on the first day. The helicopter carrier sailed with three large and two survey/salvage vessels, to create a ‘sea base’ for the rescue effort. They were joined by the French vessel . The Canadians joined Colombian rescue workers, Chilean doctors, a French mobile clinic, and Sri Lankan relief workers who had already responded to calls for aid. The US Navy listed its in the area as “17 ships, 48 helicopters and 12 fixed-wing aircraft” in addition to 10,000 sailors and Marines. The navy conducted 336 air deliveries, delivered 32,400 gallons of water, 532,440 bottles of water, 111,082 meals and 4,100 kilogrammes of medical supplies.
Foreign countries raised funds for Haitians and the European Union promised $474 million for emergency and long-term aid. Brazil announced $210 million for long-term recovery aid, $15 million of which were in immediate funds. The UK committed $32.7 million in aid, while France promised $14.4 million. The US government announced it would give $100 million to the aid effort.
Now compare all this with the situation in Pakistan: the total number of people affected by the floods (20 million) exceeds the combined total in three recent mega disasters —the Haiti earthquake, the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami and the 2005 Kashmir earthquake.
The unprecedented rains have triggered a massive humanitarian crisis that has threatened the lives of millions of people including women and children. These people do not belong to a specific age group, but include infants to 80-year-olds. The old women and very young children are most vulnerable. The death toll from the floods is close to 1,100 right now.
According to the flood data from the last 62 years, the country has suffered cumulative financial losses of more than Rs 385 billion ($6 billion) on account of 15 major floods. However, the damage done by the 2010 floods is far more than that figure.
The communication infrastructure has been totally ruined, roads, bridges and railway tracks have been destroyed, while government buildings have collapsed.
Apart from the human toll, 111 bridges have been destroyed, and more than 3,700 houses have been swept away.
It is very difficult for the government to meet the basic requirements of its millions of displaced people as the international response to Pakistan is far less than the Tsunami and Haiti disasters — the world community has only provided $229 million to Pakistan so far. This translates into $16.16 for each affected Pakistani person as compared to $1,087 every affected person in Haiti and $1,249 per affected person in the Indian Ocean tsunami.
The UN Human Rights Commission has adopted a number of resolutions on the issue of debt and structural adjustment. One such resolution, adopted in 1999, asserts that “The exercise of the basic rights of the people of the debtor countries to food, housing, clothing, employment, education, health services and a healthy environment cannot be subordinated to the implementation of the structural adjustment policies, growth programs and economic reforms”.
At the moment, the government of Pakistan is unable to fulfill these requirements, as it has to spend $3 billion per year on debt servicing alone.
All these circumstances prove that Pakistan is passing through its worst times and the state has the just right to deny repaying its debts, owed to international financial institutions and donor countries under the ‘the state of necessity’ clause.
Odious Debt and Illegitimate Debt: The second defence for Pakistan for not paying back its debt is the ‘Odious Debt’ doctrine.
The doctrine was formalised in a 1927 treatise by legal theorist , based upon the 19th Century precedents such as ’s repudiation of debts incurred by the regime, and the denial by the of liability for debts incurred by the .
According to Sack, “Odious debt is an established legal principle. Legally, odious debt is debt that resulted from loans to an illegitimate or dictatorial government that used the money to oppress the people or for personal purposes. Moreover, in cases where borrowed money was used in ways contrary to the people’s interest, with the knowledge of the creditors, the creditors may be said to have committed a hostile act against the people. They cannot legitimately expect repayment of such debts.”
He further states, “When a despotic regime contracts a debt, not for the needs or in the interests of the state, but rather to strengthen itself, to suppress a popular insurrection, etc, this debt is odious for the people of the entire state. This debt does not bind the nation; it is a debt of the regime, a personal debt contracted by the ruler, and consequently it falls with the demise of the regime. The reason why these odious debts cannot attach to the territory of the state is that they do not fulfill one of the conditions determining the lawfulness of state debts, namely that state debts must be incurred, and the proceeds used, for the needs and in the interests of the state. Odious debts, contracted and utilised for purposes, which, to the lenders’ knowledge, are contrary to the needs and the interests of the nation, are not binding on the nation – when it succeeds in overthrowing the government that contracted them – unless the debt is within the limits of real advantages that these debts might have afforded. The lenders have committed a hostile act against the people, they cannot expect a nation which has freed itself of a despotic regime to assume these odious debts, which are the personal debts of the ruler.”
The history of Pakistani debts reveals that the maximum loans were obtained during the dictatorial regimes—the martial law regimes of General Ayub Khan, General Yahya Khan and General Ziaul Haq.
The people of Pakistan did not benefit from the foreign loans provided to General Ziaul Haq and which were provided by Western countries only after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.
The loans were spent on building the ‘infrastructure’ for running the Afghan Jehad.
In Pakistan, the debt was spent against the wishes of the people and benefited only a specific segment of society. The study reveals that some corrupt generals were the biggest beneficiaries of the aid, whose sons are now billionaires.
This debt is not binding on the nation and government should refuse to pay back these loans.
‘Illegitimate debt’ is another valid reason that can strengthen Pakistan’s case for refusing to pay back the loans. Such loans are got for development projects that are not beneficial for the masses at large.
The Norwegian government canceled “illegitimate debt” of five countries in 2006.
The Norwegian government proposed to cancel $80 million in debt owed by five developing countries in acknowledgement that the debt was “extended irresponsibly and without due regard for the developmental needs of the recipient countries”. The countries include Egypt, Ecuador, Peru, Jamaica and Sierra Leone.
Pakistan’s arguments for getting its loans written off is more moral than legal: Pakistan has been in a constant state of war since 1979. It fought for more than ten years against the USSR directly or indirectly. Pakistan was the closest ally to America in all those years. This war directly affected the country not only within its boundaries but also at international forums.
Since of 9/11, Pakistan is once again in turmoil and has now become the frontline state in the war against terrorism. We are now fighting a battle not only on our borders, but also within our territory. The Pakistan Army is fighting a deadly war not only in the Tribal Areas but also out on the streets and the forces have to keep the collateral damage to the minimum level.
The economy has faced major set backs as the exports and foreign investment both have decreased to the minimum level in the last five years. The government is spending a lot of money on the war and faced internal migration of thousands of people. Keeping this situation in mind, it is justified for the calamity-hit Pakistan to get all its loans written off not only by the international financial institutions, but also from the comity of nations.
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Pakistan Daily Times August 19, 2010 KARACHI: The worst floods in the history of the country after destroying villages, infrastructure, and public and private property, also pose a serious threat to the prehistoric archaeological sites of Sindh. On August 16, the water crossed the Indus Highway and entered the Laki Shah Saddar town, submerging more than 24 small villages near Manjhand town in district Dadu. By Wednesday afternoon, the waters inundated Aamri, a prehistoric archaeological and national heritage site of Pakistan. The floodwater has already damaged portions of the
5,000-year-old Mohenjo Daro that is on the list of United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation of world heritage sites. Earlier, Sindh Antiquities Department Secretary Kaleem Lashari had warned that if the government does not make any arrangements, the floodwater would damage some of the world’s most ancient archaeological sites in Sindh. But despite the warnings, no arrangements have so far been made to protect these sites. Riaz, a resident of Aamri Town, told Daily Times that the floodwater from the River Indus started pouring in two days ago and by Wednesday it had entered the ruins of Aamri and inundated major portions of the prehistoric site. amar guriro
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Thu Aug 19, 2010 5:56AM
The United Nations General Assembly will hold a special session on Thursday to organize the international support for the flood-stricken people of Pakistan.
“The international community is stepping forward in support of the efforts of the government and the people of Pakistan,” said Jean-Victor Nkolo, spokesman for General Assembly President Ali Treki.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and high-level officials are expected to give statements following the meeting.
Last week, the United Nations launched an appeal for 460 million dollars for disaster relief efforts in Pakistan, but it said that it has received over half of that amount so far.
“The president of the General Assembly calls on all member states to continue to this effort,” said Nkolo.
Meanwhile, the Organization of the Islamic Conference on Wednesday urged member states, charity organizations, and financial institutions to help Islamabad.
The flooding has claimed the lives of at least 1,600 people. It also affected 20 million others and left a fifth of the country under water.
The United Nations also warned that millions of children risk contracting deadly diseases while in contact with contaminated water.
Pakistan’s Aid is arriving too slowly
International aid is arriving too slowly for flood-ravaged Pakistan, and some aid organisations are beginning to run out of resources, the United Nations has said.
Donors have sent $184 million, roughly 40 per cent of the $450 million requested by the UN. An additional $43 million has been pledged.
But the UN says that is not enough: Aid agencies say they need millions more to provide shelters, blankets, clean water and other supplies to the 20 million people affected by the floods. The World Food Programme has warned that it needs more money to support Pakistan’s food supplies, which are “under significant pressure”.
“We need a lot more, and we need it quickly,” John Holmes, the humanitarian coordinator for the UN, said.
The UN children’s fund (Unicef), meanwhile, said that funding shortfalls could mean slower assistance for the more than three million children affected by the flooding.
“We cannot spend pledges. We cannot buy purification tablets, we cannot support Pakistan with pledges,” Daniel Toole, the South Asia regional director for Unicef, said. “I urge the international community to urgently change pledges into cheques.”
The UN has warned that up to 3.5 million children could be in danger of contracting deadly diseases carried through contaminated water and insects.
August 17, 2010 Inside Story More than two weeks of floods in Pakistan have left well over 1,000 people dead and more than 20 million displaced. And the country is set for more troubled times ahead. The UN has warned that up to 3.5 million children are at risk of contracting water-borne diseases. As many as 300,000 people could contract Cholera – a disease that can spread quickly in areas where the water is contaminated. The first case has been reported and a failure to contain the disease could spell further disaster for Pakistan. So just what will it take to avert this and how are relief agencies being hindered by the growing health crisis?
‘Billions’ in costs
The World Bank on Monday announced that it will make $900 million in loans available for relief efforts.
A spokesman for the bank said those funds will come through the reprogramming of planned projects, and the reallocation of money.
The organization, along with the Asian Development Bank and the United Nations, have been asked to conduct assessments of the flood-hit areas in Pakistan.
Several other countries have announced major donations over the last few days. Saudi Arabia said on Tuesday that it had raised more than $20 million in the first day of a national fund raising campaign. Japan pledged an additional $10 million; Australia promised more than $21 million.
Wajid Shamsul Hasan, Pakistan’s high commissioner to the United Kingdom, said on Monday that the cost of rebuilding his country could exceed $10 to $15 billion.
‘Fake camp’ erected
Millions of victims continue to complain about inadequate aid from the Pakistani government.
In Sindh province on Tuesday, hundreds of people mobbed two food delivery trucks; aid workers lashed at them with ropes to keep them away.
Yousuf Raza Gilani, the Pakistani prime minister, visited a “relief camp” near Dera Ismail Khan in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province.
But Pakistani media reported that the “camp” was erected just hours before Gilani arrived, and that it was “wound up soon after [his] departure”. Residents of the camp told the Dawn newspaper that they have been living out in the open, with no shelter.
“At times there is no food and we starve,” an old man named Mohammad Shafi told the newspaper.
Asif Ali Zardari, the Pakistani president, has admitted that the government’s response to the disaster has been inadequate.
“Yes, the situation could have been better. Yes, the arrangements could have been made better. Yes, everything could have been better,” Zardari acknowledged.