Before I write about the Pakistani floods that have killed about 1,500 and changed the lives of about 20 million people, I’d like to note that I learned (or rather, remembered) that the start of the school year is exhausting, and that’s why I have not written in a few days. Whew! I like my new students, but it takes time to get to know them all. Okay, back to Pakistan:
These two satellite images do a good job of showing the extent of the flooding that has taken place in Pakistan. The first is from August 2009; the second is from a few weeks ago. The new blue areas are under water (the light blue blobs are clouds, I think — focus on the expansion of the dark blue).
I did not know where Sukkur was located, so I went to Google Earth (are you noticing a trend here?), where it was easy to find — I just typed Sukkur, Pakistan into the search box, and it took me there:
Now, consider that Pakistan is almost entirely Muslim. And so 175 or so million of the 180 million people in Pakistan are fasting for Ramadan. While coping with perhaps the worst flood in the country’s history.
Pakistan matters not only from a humanitarian standpoint, but it’s also right next to Afghanistan, and if the Pakistani government were to collapse or at least be weakened because it’s being seen as unable to deal with this catastrophe, that might allow groups sympathetic to Al Qaeda to come in, help the people of Pakistan, and thus create pockets of Al-Qaeda fans. As the Bloomberg news service puts it,
Pakistan’s destructive floods will raise the cost of the U.S. effort to keep the country from sliding further under the influence of Islamic militants allied to al-Qaeda who oppose America’s presence in the region.
So this is a story that bears watching. Interesting that this story is not getting more coverage in the US. The BBC is doing a great job covering the story, from what I’ve seen.
Oh, and hi to Wendy Andrews. Thanks for reading 🙂