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 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
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
International Medical Corps”
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.)