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Since the beginning of the summer, Southeast Asia, like many parts of the world, has been hit with unprecedentedly severe weather. Record-breaking monsoon rains along with melting glaciers in the region’s northern mountains (a direct result of climate change) has resulted in extreme flooding for the country of Pakistan, in particular. To be specific: One-third of the country is now underwater and, according to the United Nations, over 6.4 million people are currently displaced and in need of immediate assistance.
While the severe weather has been going on since June, flash flooding at the end of August set the emergency into a tailspin. As of this week, at least 1,400 people have died. The deluge has also destroyed important infrastructure including homes, businesses, bridges, roads, train tracks, crops, and livestock. The cumulative damage done to the country has recently been estimated at about $30 billion, while the tragic human cost is inestimable and continues to climb every day.
While climate-related disasters can make so many of us feel stripped of control, there are ways to help repair and mitigate the devastation. Read on to learn about the human rights organizations accepting donations to bring much-needed food, clean water, basic necessities, and other crucial forms of assistance to the victims of this catastrophe.
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) was founded in 1950 as a humanitarian arm to the United Nations in order to help manage the monumental refugee crisis that swept Europe after World War II. Today, in addition to helping in places like Yemen, Ukraine, and Central America, the organization is also distributing sanitary products, sleeping mats, blankets, and portable shelter (like tarps and tents) to Pakistanis displaced by flooding. You can donate to them.
Founded in 1946 and known worldwide for its assistance toward families and children worldwide, UNICEF is currently operating in Pakistan to provide health and nutrition services to refugees, including immunizations, pre-natal care for pregnant women, emergency care, and psychosocial support. The organization is also delivering food, hygiene kits, and clean water to refugees, and has set up a number of learning centers for children whose education has been disrupted. Tey are particularly active in the three provinces hit hardest by the flooding— Balochistan, Sindh, and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa—and you can help their efforts by donating.
CARE is a secular non-government organization that has been active in mitigating humanitarian crises worldwide since 1945. Now, they are in Pakistan distributing desperately needed goods to refugees, including tents, tarps, latrine kits, and menstrual products. You can donate to their efforts.
Save The Children
Save the Children was founded in the UK in 1919, just after World War I flooded the world with millions of orphans and refugees. The organization focuses on improving the lives of children impacted by disasters, and is currently active in Balochistan, one of Pakistan's most heavily flooded provinces. In addition to providing emergency response assistance in the form of food, shelter, and supplies, they also empower families and children in the region through educational and financial support. You can donate to help.
Islamic Relief USA
Islamic Relief USA is a faith-based humanitarian organization committed to helping all people in need, no matter the victims' religions or nationalities. Having been active in Pakistan since 1992, the group is well-versed in the unique needs of the country, and is currently on the ground providing access to clean and safe drinking water, food, and emergency medical treatment. They also have initiatives focused on treating blindness and Hepatitis C; empowering widows and victims struggling to rebuild their fiscal livelihoods; and medical programs focused on neonatal and pediatric care. Consider donating to them.
Human Rights Watch
Human Rights Watch (HRW) has long been active in Pakistan, determined to offer women and girls better, more equitable opportunities and access to education. They also work to provide prenatal care and access to safe contraceptives, particularly considering the country has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in South Asia. Now, flooding has exacerbated these risks to women and girls, and HRW is on the scene working to protect pregnant women, orphans, widows, and other vulnerable populations in Pakistan. You can consider donating.
Gabrielle Ulubay is an E-Commerce Writer at Marie Claire and writes about all things fashion and beauty. She's also written about politics, gender, and sex for publications like Bustle, HuffPost Personal, and The New York Times. As a film school graduate, she loves all things media and can be found making art when she's not busy writing.
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