A desperate and largely unknown humanitarian crisis is deteriorating in the Lake Chad Basin region of West Africa, forcing millions of people to flee their homes and leaving millions more in need of humanitarian assistance. Oxfam is providing life-saving support but help is urgently needed to prevent the crisis turning into a catastrophe.
World Humanitarian Day (August 19) may not be highlighted on your calendar – but it's an opportunity to take action to help those in need, and to honor the people delivering humanitarian aid on the frontlines.
Pakistan’s government has described the floods as the most debilitating natural disaster in the country’s history and has requested international support. Most estimates say at least 15 million people have been affected, some 8 million acres of crop land destroyed, and 80% of all farm animals – with anywhere from one-fifth to one-third of the country under water. And these numbers are bound to rise, as rains and more flooding continue.
The UN estimates $459 million is needed to address this catastrophe, but surely it will take billions more to rebuild Pakistan's infrastructure and economy over the coming years.
These floods are a double-catasrophe for many in the Swat Valley, who were only recently forced to flee their homes to escape the conflict in the northwest of the country, and had just started to return home and rebuild some sense of normalcy.
Yet the Pakistan floods have received relatively low-key coverage in the international media. Indeed, tsunamis and earthquakes, for example, historically have tended to attract higher levels of funding than slower onset disasters such as droughts and floods. And individual giving is slower than that seen after the January Haiti earthquake.
Please consider helping our efforts to raise $14 million, to respond to a flood that would stretch across the whole of central Europe... or from New York to Disneyworld.
Whatever your feeling toward digital activism, and whatever one's reason for giving, online organizing and fundraising offer a powerful and fundamentally democratic tool for achieving a more humane, sustainable and peaceful world.
Oxfam is working around the clock to provide clean water, food, shelter and healthcare. As of 16 August, we've already reached more than 200,000 people with humanitarian aid.