Photo Credit: Guillermo Legaria
Angelina Jolie, a Hollywood actress and activist, flew to Pakistan to aid flood victims and survivors. According to the International Rescue Committee (IRC), Jolie’s visit is an effort to bring attention to the country’s humanitarian crisis.
According to experts, over a third of the country’s territory is already submerged as a consequence of the country’s inclement climate. The combined record rainfall and melting glaciers in Northern Pakistan have resulted in a major surge in water levels across the country.
Pakistan has suffered huge losses due to the phenomenon, with 1,500 lives lost and more than 33 million people affected. Furthermore, the rains and floods have swept away infrastructures such as homes, trains, and roads, as well as causing irreversible harm to crops and livestock.
Authorities in Pakistan worry that floods may continue for six months in the worst-affected districts. However, health experts swiftly pointed out that if flooding continues for an extended length of time, the danger of waterborne diseases such as dengue and cholera will grow.
The conditions experienced by Pakistanis have prompted UNICEF to declare that the country needed “immediate, lifesaving support,” particularly for the estimated 3.4 million children afflicted by the phenomena.
It is beneficial for the country
“[Jolie] is visiting to witness and gain an understanding of the situation, and to hear from people affected directly about their needs, and about steps to prevent such suffering in the future,” the IRC stated.
According to the organization, the actress will be aiding individuals in response operations and local groups administered by the IRC.
“The IRC hopes her visit will shed light on this issue and prompt the international community – particularly states contributing the most to carbon emissions – to act and provide urgent support to countries bearing the brunt of the climate crisis,” the IRC’s statement further said.
The organization also stated that it would enable Jolie to understand that many innocent men, women, and children are devastated by a catastrophe that “they did not cause.” Jolie had previously visited the region after natural disasters struck some areas in 2005 and 2010.
The problem is caused by Climate change
If anything is to blame for the excessive monsoon rains, it is global climate change, according to United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and the Pakistani government. Both the UN and the Pakistani government understand the consequences of climate change.
Aside from the continuous rains, Pakistan is also on the verge of a food catastrophe, with food supply shortages looming. Floods devastated rice and corn, causing an estimated 70% overall loss. According to estimates, the disaster’s damages will now surpass $30 billion.
Sherry Rehman, Pakistan’s climate change minister, stated that the country is witnessing the most significant humanitarian calamity in a decade. The minister also urged the international community for assistance, stating that tents, food, and medicines are urgently needed.
“Karachi is seeing an outbreak of dengue as hundreds and thousands of patients are reporting daily at government and private hospitals. The dengue cases this year are 50% higher than last year. With 584,246 people in camps throughout the country, the health crisis could wreak havoc if it will go unchecked,” Rehman added.
Although nations like the United Kingdom have already offered assistance, analysts say it is inadequate.
“The kind of assistance that’s coming in right now is a pittance. A number of Western economies have argued that they’re suffering their own crises, because of the war in Ukraine and various other issues,” stated Ayesha Siddiqi, a geographer from the University of Cambridge.
“The big global news [in 2010] was all about ‘We must help Pakistan, or the Islamists will win. And this time around, of course, we don’t have the same geopolitical imperative to help Pakistan, and so the aid has really been a pittance.”
Opinions expressed by Texas Today contributors are their own.