Angelina Jolie Arrives in Disaster-Stricken Pakistan to Help Communities

Hollywood actress and activist Angelina Jolie arrived Pakistan to extend help to the victims and survivors of the floods in Pakistan. The International Rescue Committee (IRC) said that Jolie’s visit is an effort to draw attention to the humanitarian crisis felt by the nation.

Currently, experts have announced that almost a third of the country’s land is already submerged because of the extreme weather experienced by the country. The record rains, coupled with the melting glaciers in Nothern Pakistan, have caused a massive rise in water levels across the country.

Pakistan has incurred tremendous loss because of the phenomenon, with 1,500 people dead and afflicting more than 33 million people. In addition, the rains and floods have washed away infrastructures like homes, railways, and roads and have caused irreparable damage to crops and livestock.

Authorities in Pakistan fear that the worst-hit areas will see the floods persisting until six months. However, health experts quickly pointed out that should flood exist for prolonged periods, the risk for waterborne diseases like dengue and cholera will increase.

The conditions felt by Pakistani citizens have alerted UNICEF and said that the country requires “immediate, lifesaving support”, especially for the estimated 3.4 million children affected by the phenomenon.

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Jolie’s visit is important

“[Jolie] is visiting to witness and gain an understanding of the situation, and to hear from people affected directly about their needs, and about steps to prevent such suffering in the future,” said the IRC in a statement.

The organization said that the actress would be assisting people in the response operations and local organizations managed by the IRC.

“The IRC hopes her visit will shed light on this issue and prompt the international community – particularly states contributing the most to carbon emissions – to act and provide urgent support to countries bearing the brunt of the climate crisis,” added the IRC’s statement.

The organization said that it would also help the actress understand that many innocent men, women, and children are affected by a crisis “they did not cause.” Jolie has also visited the country after natural disasters ravaged some areas in 2005 and 2010.

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Climate change is to blame

If there is anything to blame for the heavy monsoon rains, that is global climate change, concurs United Nations Secretary Antonio Guterres and the government of Pakistan. Both the UN and the Pakistani government see the results of the disaster induced by climate change.

Apart from the ongoing rains, Pakistan is also on the brink of a food crisis as shortages in food supply loom. The floods destroyed rice and maize, with an estimated 70% total damage. According to estimates, the damages brought by the disaster would now total $30 billion.

Pakistan minister for climate change, Sherry Rehman, said that the country is experiencing the worst humanitarian disaster in a decade. The minister further called on the international community for help, as tents, food, and medicines are needed.

“Karachi is seeing an outbreak of dengue as hundreds and thousands of patients are reporting daily at government and private hospitals. The dengue cases this year are 50% higher than last year. With 584,246 people in camps throughout the country, the health crisis could wreak havoc if it will go unchecked,” Rehman said.

Although countries like the United Kingdom have already extended help, analysts believe that the help is not enough.

“The kind of assistance that’s coming in right now is a pittance. A number of Western economies have argued that they’re suffering their own crises, because of the war in Ukraine and various other issues,” said Ayesha Siddiqi, a geographer from the University of Cambridge.

“The big global news [in 2010] was all about ‘We must help Pakistan, or the Islamists will win. And this time around, of course, we don’t have the same geopolitical imperative to help Pakistan, and so the aid has really been a pittance,” she added.

Source: CNN