Sunday, August 22, 2010

A tale of 2 locations -- please donate to help flood victims

As many of you know, I'm originally from the Midwestern United States (Iowa, to be exact) and my in-laws are in south Asia (Pakistan, to be exact). 

If you've been following the news lately (or have seen pretty much ANY news in the last few weeks), then you probably already know that Pakistan's monsoon season has wreaked havoc on the country since late July. What you might not know (because it doesn't seem to be getting as much national news coverage) is that Iowa is also getting hit with some flooding in Ames and its surrounding areas.

Here are some aerial photos / maps to give you an idea of what's going on:

For those wondering, our family and friends in Pakistan and Iowa are ok and are not located in any of the areas affected by the floods.

However, I'd like to take a minute to focus on those people who ARE affected by the floods who we don't know personally and who are NOT ok.

On the Iowa side of things: Ames is a college town where Iowa State University is located.  Many people there had to evacuate their homes when the flood waters rose.  According to news published earlier this week, the tap water in Ames has become safe to drink again, and from what I can tell, the flood water seems to be subsiding and people are starting to clean up (although some homes DO still remain flooded at this point).  Sadly, it seems that some farmland may have also been affected by the flooding.

The American Red Cross is operating in Iowa to assist with flood victims.  Please consider donating to the cause (though the American Red Cross link).

From what I can tell, the devastation in Pakistan seems to be a more ferocious animal.  I attribute some of this to the fact that (according to Wikipedia) 1/4 of Pakistan is considered "poor" (October 2006) and 17.2% of Pakistan's population lives below poverty.  Some of the people affected by the floods were only living in mud huts even before the flooding.  I'm trying to stay abreast of all of the stories about the flooded areas, but with it still continuing, things are changing more quickly there than I can keep up.  

On the Pakistan side of things: Hundreds of thousands of homes have been destroyed, crops have been washed away (flooded crops = loss of income and livelihood), and without proper drinking water, communicable illnesses or diseases are likely.  According to an article published today on CNN:
More than 200 health facilities have been damaged or destroyed, according to the World Health Organization, greatly reducing the available health care for millions of survivors in filthy conditions. At least 4 million people are homeless.

LOTS of things are needed in Pakistan: tents for temporary housing, mosquito nets and mosquito coils to fend off malaria, food and clean drinking water, and more.  Both The Huffington Post and CNN have published articles on good charities to donate to for the cause: The Huffington Post / CNN.  I urge you to check out the articles and please consider donating.  

Every little bit helps both of these areas -- no matter what amount you can afford to give.  

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