Monsoon rains have caused expanding destruction and death in Pakistan since June. Gift of the Givers, as a rule, never intervenes in any international disaster situation unless a request for international assistance is made by the Head of State of the affected country. The Pakistani Prime Minister, Shehbaz Sharif, has now made that call just over 24 hours ago.
We have immediately opened dialogue with the Surgeon General's office in the Pakistani military and Alkhidmat, a civil society organisation, both are entities with whom we had excellent partnerships during our intervention in the earthquake of 2005 and the floods of 2010. The military have the resources, helicopters, boats, personnel, capability and logistics to access "cut off" areas as 60% of the country is under water currently. Alkhidmat have proven time and again their capability to reach the most far flung areas where a large majority of poverty stricken families reside. General Rayhaan Burney, ex-Surgeon General and Muhammad Abdus Shakoor, current president of Alkhidmat are in communication with us.
The situation is an absolute tragedy with a million homes destroyed, 33 million civilians displaced, roads, bridges, infrastructure and sewerage systems decimated, localities are cesspools of faeces with increasing cases of waterborne diseases, fertile agricultural land washed away and animals are hungry. The official death toll is 1000 but the reality is that it could be 4-5x more given the volume and power of water flowing in the country.
The priority requirements are tents to set up tent cities, dry food rations that can be consumed without cooking and the provision of hot meals. Gift of the Givers has authorized the purchase of these items immediately. Medical care is adequate given the large support from pharmaceutical companies and volunteer health care workers nationally.
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