Lately, I’ve been having this recurring feeling that we are in the first reel of a global disaster movie.  Maybe it’s my imagination, but it sure seems like the frequency of natural disasters seems to be increasing.  Major earthquakes in Chile, China, and Haiti claimed hundreds of thousands.  Tsunami hitting Chile.  Historic flooding in Brazil.  Record heat and fires burning out of control in Russia.  Volcanic ash blanketing Europe and shutting down flights for a week.  And that’s with two full months left to the hurricane season.

With all this suffering, it’s easy to overlook the latest tragedy in Pakistan.  The relentless rains continue to expand the flooding damage.  A quick summary to date:

  • 20,000,000 people directly impacted (10% of the population)
  • Over 1,600 dead
  • 4,000,000 people homeless
  • 8,000,000 people requiring urgent assistance and medical care
  • 3,500,000 children in danger of contracting water and insect borne disease
  • Over 1,600,00 acres of crops destroyed
  • Over 200,000 livestock dead

Here’s a good map from the Guardian that shows how widespread the flooding has become (click to see it larger):

Photographs at the New York Times and the BBC underscore the suffering.  With the rains continuing to come down in Sindh Province, this is not going to be a short-term fix.  We’re talking years to recover and the aid has been coming up short.

As I just begin the preparations to spend a year in Lahore (already feeling very pessimistic about the prospects for picking up even rudimentary Urdu), I’m feeling particularly drawn to try to help.  There are a number of organizations that will ensure donations get to the people in need:  UNICEF, UN High Commissioner for Refugees, CARE, Doctors Without Borders, and OXFAM, among others.

Although these are all great organizations, I was particularly happy to see Secretary Clinton launch a new State Department program to raise funds for our relief effort.  This is where we’re sending our money.  If you want a quick way to give just a small amount, they’ve made it incredibly easy.  For a quick way to give $10, simply TEXT “FLOOD” to 27722 from your mobile phone. If you’re interested in giving more via credit card, just click the button below and fill out the online form (it took 5 minutes, max).

Hope you can help.