The Year of Unceasing Rain (4)

Irony alert ? “Typhoons ? They happen all the time. It’s just a little local storm. Nothing to worry about. Happens every season or so. The locals know how to read the warning signs, and head to high ground or build their huts on stilts. Power lines down ? Oh, they’ll be strung back up in no time. And the rice paddies will benefit from all that extra rain.”

Watch out China – here comes Megi :-

Remembering Pakistan

Found at : Only In It For The Gold

Will the long-term future for much of inundated Pakistan resemble a country-wide-scale New Orleans – destroyed and mostly deserted ?

Where will the people go ? Or will they rot and die in “temporary” camps ?

What will become of those stranded in their villages – they stayed to protect the land – they didn’t realise the floodwaters would be like never before – coming to take away their livelihoods and possibly their lives.

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5jX_KetVCMo64AOZxSMudPWArFrJgD9I946KG0

“US envoy warns Pakistan of flood funding shortfall : By SEBASTIAN ABBOT (AP) : 16 September 2010 : KARACHI, Pakistan — The world will only be able to fund around 25 percent of the tens of billions of dollars needed to rebuild Pakistan after the floods, and its government will have to make up the shortfall, the U.S. envoy to the country warned Thursday. Richard Holbrooke said America would not condition its assistance to the country, but warned that the U.S. Congress might not be generous if it felt that Pakistan was not taxing its own citizens enough. Pakistan’s rich have traditionally not paid much tax on their income or their property — either because they evade them or are exempt — and the country’s collection rates are among the lowest in the world…Monsoon rains triggered massive floods six weeks ago that spread across the country and are still continuing in parts of the south. Some 8 million people have been made homeless in what Pakistani and U.N. officials have said is one of the largest humanitarian disasters in living memory…”

Are You Ready for Pakistan ?

Compassion fatigue appears to have set in early in the Western Media – yet the existential problems of simple human survival, health, shelter, food and clean drinking water have only just started in large parts of Pakistan.

I was speaking with a contact recently who is just about to go out East to help coordinate an emergency mission in the region, and my first question was, “Are you ready for Pakistan ?”, because I don’t think anybody “parachuting” into the country will be.

Plus, this may be the worst crisis that the world’s humanitarian network has faced in the last half Century, but it’s not the only one ongoing and just about to start :-

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2010_Pacific_typhoon_season

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2010_Atlantic_hurricane_season

Human interest stories have been the bread and butter of holiday media for decades – now is the time to roll cameras for the never-ending rollercoaster of disaster Climate Change is turning out to be.

It’s been raining really, really heavily, catastrophically somewhere on the planet practically non-stop since the beginning of the year.

Surely that’s not just a story, that’s a whole narrative ?

And it’s about weather, too, every journalist’s favourite subject.

Continue reading Are You Ready for Pakistan ?

Save Oxfam

In an unguarded moment, I allowed myself to watch television, and found myself watching this campaign advertisement from Oxfam.

The first thing I felt was empathy with the unhappy woman shown in the opening sequence, as the narrator told us that her baby had just been washed away by floodwaters. How dreadful for her. How awful for her child.

The second thing I thought was how shocking it was for an aid and development agency to use this person’s grief as a marketing tool.

The third thing I thought was to ask myself why the makers of the appeal didn’t mention the aggravation to the environment caused by Climate Change, but instead just refered to “more people than ever are dying because of floods, drought and lack of clean water”.

Continue reading Save Oxfam

Casualty

So I’m in the hospital emergency room with a very aged relative with a dodgy ticker, and I’m doing what I can to offer some shred of comfort, stroking head, clasping hand, chatting about this and that.

And I’m looking at the digital monitor, displaying readings from various intensive care technology. And I watch as the arrhythmia, the irregular beating of the heart, clearly shows itself if you stop to look at the display for long enough.

Continue reading Casualty