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article imageAvaaz: International response to Pakistan disaster ‘slow, weak’

By Andrew Moran     Aug 17, 2010 in World
Islamabad - The situation in Pakistan continues to deteriorate. Millions of people are homeless, the fear of cholera is growing and a fifth of the country is under water. Avaaz, a global advocacy group, is urging governments around the world to take more action.
The nation of Pakistan has experienced one of history’s worst floods. The floods have covered one-fifth of the nation and has been called “the size of England.”
Approximately 1,600 people have died, 20 million people are homeless, the country’s infrastructure has been severely damaged, the risk of a cholera outbreak continues to worsen and the long-term economic ramifications are catastrophic.
Pakistan has received hundreds of millions of dollars in aid and the World Bank recently offered a $900 million loan for the Pakistani government to deal with the situation.
However, not everyone is saying the relief efforts are successful. According to Luis Morago of Avaaz, a global online advocacy group, the “international response” to Pakistan’s natural disaster has been “irresponsibly slow and weak.”
The United Nations has urged the international community to immediately send $460 million in aid but the organization says only 40 percent of that money has been either delivered or pledged.
Avaaz claims that relief workers are warning governments that if aid is not increased then the death toll in Pakistan could astronomically spike.
“The international response so far not matched that of previous large scale disasters. Organizations like UNICEF and WHO have said they lack the funds to provide adequate assistance,” said Morago in an e-mail to Digital Journal. “The governments of the world need to do more, and we can lead by example. Let’s stand with Pakistan at this time of crisis, and ask important donor governments to do the same.”
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