UNICEF: 100,000 Pakistani kids face starvation

A malnourished Pakistani girl, Heleema, at a camp for displaced people in Sukkur, Sindh province, southern Pakistan.  Aaron Favila / AP

A malnourished Pakistani girl, Heleema, at a camp for displaced people in Sukkur, Sindh province, southern Pakistan. Aaron Favila / AP

I was going to talk about the appropriate amount of homework for kids, but then I saw this story: UNICEF says 100,000 children are about to starve in Pakistan due to the recent flooding.

From The Associated Press:

“SUKKUR, Pakistan — Suhani Bunglani fans flies away from her two baby girls as one sleeps motionless while the other stares without blinking at the roof of their tent, her empty belly bulging beneath a green flowered shirt.”

“Their newborn sister already died on the ground inside this steamy shelter at just 4 days old, after the family’s escape from violent floods that drowned a huge swath of Pakistan. Now the girls, ages 1 and 2, are slowly starving, with shriveled arms and legs as fragile as twigs.”

“More than 100,000 children left homeless by Pakistan’s floods are in danger of dying because they simply do not have enough to eat, according to UNICEF. Children already weak from living on too little food in poor rural areas before the floods are fighting to stay alive, as diarrhea, respiratory diseases and malaria attack their emaciated bodies….”

“The floodwaters that swamped a section of Pakistan larger than Florida continue to inundate new areas, forcing even more people to flee. Some 18 million have already been affected, and nearly half of them are homeless. Many have been herded into crude, crowded camps or left to fend for themselves along roads.”

“But doctors warn the real catastrophe is moving much slower than the murky water. About 105,000 kids younger than 5 at risk of dying from severe acute malnutrition over the next six months, the United Nations Children’s Fund estimates.”

” ‘You’re seeing children who were probably very close to the brink of being malnourished and the emergency has just pushed them over the edge,’ says Erin Boyd, a UNICEF emergency nutritionist working in southern Pakistan. ‘There’s just not the capacity to treat this level of severe acute malnutrition.’ ”

“The World Food Program alone has fed more than 4 million people since the crisis began, distributing monthly rations that include nutrition-packed foods for children. But the sheer geographic and human scale of the disaster is overwhelming, and U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called it the worst he has ever seen.”

We were all heartbroken over the poor children in Haiti so do we care about these poor babies in Pakistan? The photos on MSNBC’s site are absolutely horrifying.

All of my babies grew up so big and fat that I can’t even imagine little arms and legs that will snap like twigs. These babies’ tummies bulge from emptiness not from their mother’s milk.

We can remember a year ago how awful it felt to have our homes flooded and now these poor people are watching their children starve from their flood.

So other than just feeling guilty, what can we do to help? Well, MSNBC has a wonderful list of links through which families can donate. Here is the list from MSNBC:

“For general donations, text “SWAT” to 50555 to donate $10 to help flood victims ( UN refugee agency and mGive).”

“For specific aid initiatives, you can look at various organizations that are involved in Pakistan flood relief efforts at InterAction.”

“A few organizations you can donate to include:

CARE (Cooperative for American Remittances to Europe)
USA for UNHCR (USA for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees)
IRC (International Rescue Committee)
Direct Relief International
Mercy Corps
Oxfam
AmeriCares
UNICEF (U.N. Children’s Fund)
Save the Children
Doctors without Borders
Concern Worldwide US
U.N. World Food Program
International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies
Catholic Relief Services
Church World Service
Islamic Relief USA
World Vision
International Medical Corps

“Volunteer/non-monetary contributions
If you have specific skills (medicine, engineering, communications, etc.) and want to volunteer your time and energy, go to Center for International Disaster Information.”

How can the Pakistani government get more international attention for this crisis? Will you be able to help? Will you tell your friends what is going on?

(I’ll throw out a lighter topic later but I feel like it’s the least I can do to draw attention to this crisis.)

64 comments Add your comment

motherjanegoose

September 21st, 2010
4:34 pm

I am sad for any child who is starving. I am sure my dog eats better than many of these children. I am also confused as to which would be the best way to help those with no food. Is sending $$$ the best answer?

catlady is correct, many times, we make contributions here based on what we see in our arena. While I have not been to Pakistan, I have seen such a contrast of beliefs and opinions just across in the United States. Reminds me of THE POISONWOOD BIBLE by Barbara Kingsolver. My son read this in HS and I picked it up too.

JATL

September 21st, 2010
4:54 pm

@MJG -that one would be a good Momania book club pick too! Poisonwood Bible is in my top 10 all time favorite novels. I know in the past we have sent actual food to regions in need, but I guess it depends on logistics and what the receiving government will allow. I had much rather see actual food being handed over to people in the flood damaged areas than money just sent to Pakistani government bureaus.

Kat

September 21st, 2010
4:56 pm

They hand over Osama bin Laden, and I will donate money to the non-corrupt portion of their government. Or is it all corrupt?

SJ

September 21st, 2010
6:41 pm

I wouldn’t give money to the Pakistan government. Agreed regarding the trustworthiness (or not) of that regime. However, Doctors Without Borders does wonderful work, and a high percentage of donations is actually used for charitable purposes. I can’t stand seeing these children starving. I don’t care what their parents do, or what their government does. They deserve better. I will donate to DWB today. And yes, I also donate at home and am actively involved in supporting children in foster care. However, I am fortunate enough to be in a position to help both.

HB

September 21st, 2010
9:19 pm

It’s best to give money to a reputable organization that already has a presence in the country so they can buy exactly what they see people need. Sending food collected from donors from this far often is not the most efficient way of getting it there, plus the money may buy more if the food and other basic supplies like building materials are purchased in bulk from a country in the region with lower prices and a shorter distance to ship.

deidre_NC

September 21st, 2010
9:57 pm

@from outside the US ….god bless you…

deidre_NC

September 21st, 2010
10:20 pm

@HB…JATL…Catlady etc….yall all said exactly what i would have said, so im not going to repeat it. im glad to see others realize that we cant compare our lives to 3rd world countries. Doctors Without Borders and Samaritans Purse are 2 good places to donate. im sure there are more, bit i have researched these and they seem to have a higher rate of money spent on actual help. as someone said (i think JATL)..i would much rather be homeless here than a mother in one of these countries. do some research and see, even the homeless here have many more resources. as many food banks as there are no one has to starve here. kids at school can get free breakfast and lunch…one day of our school’s per child food allotment would probably feel a lot of kids there. and there are the organizations who send a back pack home on fridays with some children full of food so they dont go hungry when school is out. have some compassion to those who are so much less unfortunate that we really cant even imagine it if we havent seen it.

motherjanegoose

September 21st, 2010
10:24 pm

JATL it has been years since I read it but I really learned a lot. I just finished THE HELP and hope to be able to discuss it on this blog. I am in Florida now and mostly on the road. Snow last week and ocean now…hope I do not get sick!

LongtimeEducator

September 21st, 2010
10:55 pm

Regarding “just say no” to sex and other ideas of birth control…women in this part of the world have no voice. Please read A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini to get an idea of what these women are up against.

Jeff

September 22nd, 2010
7:23 am

Looks like we need to revise the topic of why men cheat. Plenty of examples here of callous women who are NOT in a marriage/relationship for the union of two people. You make me sick and are damaging the relationships between men and women in general and the potential individual relationships that will not happen because of the cynicism you help create. But, hey, I’m sure you feel empowered that you were able to voice your opinion.

HB

September 22nd, 2010
8:22 am

Jeff, I’m honestly confused by your comment. Please explain what people have said here to make you think that.

Jeff

September 22nd, 2010
8:33 am

See Young@heart 10:32. Maybe I should have addressed it to one particular line (even though there is more than one that goes in that direction) but that is a very sensitive subject for me.

Becky

September 22nd, 2010
2:54 pm

@Jeff..So because we have the gumption to say no to a man without risking our lives, you think that is why men cheat? If you think that just because a woman isn’t in the mood when you are that we are damaging relationships between men and women,then you might need to go live in a 3rd world country..

Jeff

September 22nd, 2010
3:54 pm

I’m specifically talking about the callousness with which the disregard for the husband was shown. Husbands who verbalize that same lack of decorum about their unwillingness to do things for their wives they don’t want to do are generally thought of as jack*sses and rightfully so.