Tag Archives: Food

The Real Numbers: Half of America in Poverty — and It’s Creeping toward 75%

The Census Bureau has reported that one out of six Americans lives in poverty. A shocking figure. But it’s actually much, much worse.

The Census Bureau has reported that one out of six Americans lives in poverty. A shocking figure. But it’s actually much worse. Inequality is spreading like a shadowy disease through our country, infecting more and more households, and leaving a shrinking number of financially secure families to maintain the charade of prosperity.

1. Almost half of Americans had NO assets in 2009

Analysis of  Economic Policy Institute data shows that Mitt Romney’s famous  47 percent, the alleged ‘takers,’ have taken nothing. Their debt exceeded their assets in 2009.

Continue reading The Real Numbers: Half of America in Poverty — and It’s Creeping toward 75%

Canadians trimming food budgets in face of higher prices, RBC says

Bank report suggests as much as 91 per cent of Canadians plan to cut back food spending.

By Allison Brogan, CBC News

Canadian families are planning to cut back on the amount they spend at the grocery store in the face of rising food prices, a new report from one of Canada’s largest banks said Thursday.

The RBC Canadian Consumer Outlook Index showed Canadians’ are displeased with rising food prices at the grocery store.

As much as 91 per cent of respondents to the survey said they have taken notice of rising food prices and are being more budget oriented as a result.

Read more » CBC
http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/story/2013/05/16/business-rbc-food.html

Sindh – Lyari crisis

AS the police-led operation against ‘gangsters’ in Lyari entered its sixth day on Wednesday, the humanitarian plight of this forsaken Karachi neighbourhood’s residents has become a matter of serious concern. People have been without food, water, power and gas for the past several days while stray gunfire poses a constant threat. Many of those who could do so have already fled Lyari. The city has witnessed protests against the operation, with demonstrators clashing with the law-enforcers. Protesters claim the action is partial, targeting a particular ethnic group. And while the Sindh government announced it had started relief work for the hapless people on Tuesday, it appears no plan was chalked out to protect residents before the police went inside the area last week.

Continue reading Sindh – Lyari crisis

Civil Society of Sindh deeply concerned over the operation against the whole community and unavailability of water, food, medicines, electricity and nonexistent of basic necessities of life due to the unofficial curfew in Lyari.

Punhal Sario, Mustafa Baloch, Zulfiqar Shah, Amar Sindhu, Kashif Bajeer, Dr. Ashothama, Rizwan Abbassi, Rabail Aziz, Jabbar Bhatti of the Civil Society of Sindh shows deep concerns over the operation against children, women, and common citizens in Lyari-Karachi, Sindh in the context of confined innocent citizen of the area. The Civil Society of Sindh deeply concerned over the unavailability of water, food, medicines, electricity and natural gas supply for thousands of innocent citizens of the area since couple of the days due to ongoing operation in the lyari and fear deaths and health damages of the innocent citizens due to nonexistent of basic necessities of life. Therefore, civil society of Sindh demands to stop the operation against the citizens of Lyari and government should ensure all basic necessities of living specially water, food, emergency medical support and gas supply as well as securities in the area where it plans to take law and order measures, it also demands immediate water, food and medical rescue to the residents of Lyari confined due to curfew in the area.

Courtesy: News adopted from Facebook

“Innocents Die, Vultures Dance with Joy”

By Dr. Ahmed Makhdoom, Malaysia.

And, this is the reality in this country known as ‘Pakistan,’ where poverty-stricken, shirtless, shelter-less and loaf-less innocents are dying under the open skies and the voracious vultures have a field day and greedily feast on the bodies of the dead.

A large number of people affected by last year’s heavy monsoon rains took out a procession in Samaro town on Wednesday, calling upon the government to provide them permanent shelter, food, health and education facilities to enable them to lead a normal life again. Who will hear their wails and screams of help?

Continue reading “Innocents Die, Vultures Dance with Joy”

Millions at risk in Sindh

Millions at risk: Pakistan needs to own this crisis and then seek aid says WFP

By Azam Khan

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan needs to own this crisis and then get the attention of the international community, stressed the World Food Programme’s Ramiro Lopes da Silva on Monday, while warning that millions of lives are at stake in Sindh unless more attention is paid to mobilising resources.

The situation is alarming but hasn’t received the attention it deserves, the deputy executive director remarked at a press briefing on Monday. …

Read more → The Express Tribune

350 deaths, 700,000 in Refuge camps, 1.5 million homes destroyed, 2.4 millions are severely affected by food insecurity in Sindh

– Pakistanis at risk over world inaction on floods: WFP

byAFP

ISLAMABAD: The United Nations warned on Monday that the international community had failed to respond to the latest flooding crisis in Pakistan, leaving three million people in urgent need of food handouts.

The nuclear-armed Muslim state has suffered two consecutive years of floods but has been at increasing risk of international isolation since US troops found and killed Osama bin Laden near the capital in May.

“Somehow the present flooding and the humanitarian impact of the present flooding has not yet picked the interest, the focus of the world,” said Ramiro Lopes da Silva, deputy executive director of the World Food Programme (WFP).

“If we have no resources, we have no response,” he told a news conference in Islamabad after visiting the flood-hit southern province of Sindh.

On September 18, the United Nations led an appeal for dollar 357 million in emergency funding to shore up rescue and relief efforts for millions of people suffering after floods swept away homes and farm land in southern Pakistan.

“The funding is not coming as swiftly and as fast at the levels it came to the response of the floods of last year,” said Lopes da Silva.

“Donors are being challenged by the level of resources required to address similar needs of humanitarian situations across the world,” he added.

Last month, the United Nations said only the Japanese government had pledged dollar 10 million in response to the appeal. ….

Read more → DAWN.COM

Sluggish Response to Sindh Flood Victims – Oxfam Warns of Second Disaster

– Sluggish donor response to Pakistan floods is another disaster in the making: Oxfam

Islamabad – International aid agency Oxfam expressed alarm over the floods in Sindh and Balochistan provinces, as only $1.30 has been committed per person by international donors in the first 10 days of the UN appeal as opposed to $3.20 committed in the same period during last year’s floods.

Oxfam calls on the Government of Pakistan and the international donor community to dig deep into their resources and rapidly increase their funding to prevent the disaster from deteriorating further. The agency warns that the situation of millions of people in Sindh and Balochistan will worsen unless more aid arrives.

According to the latest figures, more than 8.8 million people in Sindh and 14,000 people in Balochistan so far have been affected by the 2011 monsoon rains. The human impact of this disaster in terms of the number of people affected is more than the combined impact of the Haiti earthquake and the Pakistan earthquake of 2005. Reported losses are being estimated at $215 million, and that number is likely to increase as some areas are inaccessible, and the impact of the floods cannot be assessed. ….

Read more → Aboard the Democracy Train

BBC – Pakistan is ‘failing’ the flood victims of Sindh

– Is Pakistan ‘failing’ the people hit by the floods?

By Aleem Maqbool

Pakistan’s most needy are being left to fend for themselves after flooding devastated much of southern Sindh province.

It is astonishing and depressing that this is all happening again. Only this time, for the people of southern Pakistan, things appear even worse.

In travelling the vast flood-hit areas as we have been doing, what is striking this year, as compared to last, is the massive number of people who tell us they have had no help at all – not from aid agencies, not from the army and not from the government of Pakistan. ….

Read more → BBC

Do not invite nature’s wrath

– By Dr. Manzur Ejaz, DAWN.COM

To describe the irreversibility of events and the determination of socio-historic forces, Waris Shah’s favorite expression was “Vagan paiy dariya na kadi murrde” (The rivers bent on flowing cannot be stopped).

For the last few years Pakistan’s rivers are honouring Waris Shah’s depiction when, in monsoon season, they reclaim the paths that have been usurped by human intruders by way of a quickly multiplying population, anarchy, and lack of governance. The rivers are giving an early warning to every Pakistani that if you mutilate nature, then it will take a very cruel revenge one day. And nature’s revenge is so tough that if the earthquake in the Washington DC area last month had lasted 20 more seconds, very few people would have been left to tell the story.

It cannot be determined if Pakistan and many other such countries have ever been more brutal to nature or with their fellow human beings. In both cases the end result is widespread destruction: probably more people perish and suffer because of floods and their intervention in nature than by jihadi terrorists and sectarian/mafia gangs. It seems like there is a correlation between these both types of brutalities: both are product of irrational approach to earth and the beings that occupy it.

Unlike scientific debates about human- induced global warming, Pakistan’s case is very simple and self evident. An unplanned population has encroached every inch of space that has become the cause of incessant devastations. Since the hapless crowds encroached on reserved lands, drainage and river beds, the monsoon water has no other way but to destroy what comes in its way. Untill the 70s every village, town, city or desert area had natural passages in case of heavy rain and floods. Now, there is hardly any village or town that has not blocked the flow of rain water: raised paved roads everywhere has created a situation in which heavy rains turn the whole village or town into a dirty water pond that can only breed diseases.

People have encroached river beds, and not only cultivate there, but have made brick houses as well. Given the Indus Water Basin Treaty in Pakistan’s rivers like Ravi and Sutlej, there is hardly any water during the winter but that does not mean that they will be dry in monsoons as well. If India does not utilise most of monsoon water to fill its dams built on Ravi and Sutlej, most of central and western Punjab will be drowned by floods. India has no choice but to release water after its dams are filled. And, taking the worst scenario of evil Indian intentions that Pakistanis assume anyway, if instead of filling its dams it lets the excessive water flow, areas around Ravi and Sutlej will see a great human tragedy because of hurdles created in the river beds.

Of course the monsoon and floods are seasonal hazards, but during the rest of the year the situation is very grave though not dramatic to capture the attention of media or the governments. How can the localities handle heavy rains and floods when they cannot handle the sewerage water? Sewerage disposal is handled so badly that it keeps on spreading diseases and killing hundreds of thousands of people every year, specifically in the rural areas. Either it creates ponds of dirty water in the streets or it is disposed off in the irrigation channels. For example, the Lower Bari Doab canal water that reaches the fields in Sahiwal or beyond is heavily polluted with sewerage water: right from its beginning (or even before from Ravi river) every city, town and village drops sewerage in the irrigation distributaries and watercourses. By the time it reaches the crops it has more than half of filth resulting in disease enhancing crops consumed by humans. In addition, such polluted water seeps down to underground water making it extremely harmful for human consumption. No wonder, water borne diseases are so common in Pakistan.

Somehow poor Pakistanis will get through this devastating period of heavy rains and floods, but a lesson has to be learnt: every locality should have a permanent arrangement of drainage of sewerage and excessive water. There are many countries where it rains all year long but they have made befitting arrangements and months of rain do not disrupt normal life.

In Pakistan, instead of making better arrangements for excessive water discharge, human encroachments have blocked the old drainage systems. Pakistan‘s government, at all levels, should take sewerage disposal and water drainage its top development priority. Every locality, small villages or big cities, should be mandated to have drainage systems ready before next monsoon. The developers and constructors, whether building residential dwellings or making metal roads should have a legal binding and liability to first make safe drainage system before they do anything else. Communities should be made liable through legislation, if there is none already, to take collective responsibility for making arrangements of disposing of sewerage and rain water. A compulsory drainage disposal fee should be charged as part of land revenue or property taxes.

One does not have to be a lawyer or a judge to figure out that harming others, as individuals or communities, is violation of human rights and safety. Polluting streets and waterways with sewerage does just that: harm others. Therefore, if the government(s) does not take necessary action then the highest courts should take a suo-moto action to protect the whole Pakistani society. Furthermore, if suicide is a liable act then proliferating sewerage fits this category of crime too. If no one does anything then nature will punish in a way it is doing at the present time.

Courtesy: DAWN.COM

VIA → WICHAAR.COM

Sindh in malnutrition hotspots, says report

– ISLAMABAD – The National Nutrition Survey (NNS 2011), which was launched on Saturday, showed that Sindh had one of the highest rates of malnutrition in the country.

In Sindh 17.5 per cent of children under five years suffer from acute malnutrition, nearly seven per cent being severely malnourished. These results are way above WHO’s emergency threshold of 15 per cent, which indicates a critical nutrition situation. In addition, half of all children are stunted, a sign of long-term malnutrition.

The NNS 2011 also reports Sindh as the province with the highest proportion of food insecure people. Nearly 72 per cent of the population is food insecure and do not have access to enough food.

The situation can only be expected to get worse with the onset of current floods and the resulting loss of property, food stocks and the damage to standing crops. Last year’s post-flood nutrition survey had reported acute malnutrition rates as high as 23.1 per cent in the affected areas of Sindh. ….

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has started distribution of food in the flood-affected areas of lower Sindh and is scaling up its efforts rapidly. “The WFP is taking practical steps to stabilise and improve the nutritional levels of the affected population. …

Read more → The Nation
http://nation.com.pk/pakistan-news-newspaper-daily-english-online/Regional/Islamabad/18-Sep-2011/Sindh-in-malnutrition-hotspots-says-report

Sindh – American Flood Assistance Already at Work

More than 50,000 families reached in Sindh

Islamabad, September 13, 2011 (press release)– In response to the Government of Pakistan’s disaster declaration on September 9, the United States has immediately begun providing a broad range of assistance to Sindh communities affected by this year’s floods, including food supplies for more than 50,000 families, and safe drinking water, shelter, sanitation and hygiene supplies, and basic health care for thousands more.

“Assistance provided by the United States will help thousands of flood-affected families attend to their immediate needs over the next few weeks,” said Andrew Sisson, Director of the U.S. Agency for International Development Mission.

This support is part of the broader U.S. Government commitment to assisting the people of Pakistan by supporting long-term development in times of immediate crisis. It will be delivered by local and international organizations specializing in relief work.

Already, USAID-funded food packages have reached 23,000 families in seven districts of Sindh (Badin, Mirpurkhas, Tando Muhammed Khan, Tando Allah Yar, Tharparker, Umarkot, and Hyderabad). This assistance was delivered by the International Organization for Migration. USAID also paid for nearly 60 trucks to deliver relief to affected areas and 1,000 plastic tarpaulins for shelter, and is financing other efforts to coordinate relief activities.

In the coming days, U.S.-funded relief supplies, including shelter materials, drinking water, sanitation and hygiene provisions will be provided through the Rural Support Programs Network, a Pakistani non-governmental organization. The United States is also contributing funding for 26,000 food packages to be distributed by the World Food Program.

The U.S. has also provided funding to the Agha Khan University’s mobile health unit, which is providing health care to affected communities in to Badin District. Additional U.S.-sponsored medical teams will begin working in other heavily flooded areas within the next several days. These health services are crucial in preventing and treating diarrhea, malaria, and other diseases that typically follow floods.

Courtesy- Information Office, Public Affairs Section, U.S. Embassy Islamabad, Pakistan

http://islamabad.usembassy.gov/

Via → Sindhi e-lists/ e-groups, September 13, 2011.

LEFT BANK OUTFALL DRAIN CARRYING TOXIC EFFLUENCE FROM PUNJAB TO SINDH – a massive wave of 20,000 cusecs of drain water is approaching

Evacuation ordered as new breaches in dykes add to woes

By Hashim Bhurgari, Qamaruddin and Iqbal Khwaja

SINDH – BADIN / MIRPURKHAS / THATTA: The Badin administration issued a warning to people of 12 union councils to vacate their homes and water gushing from breaches in canals and drains entered Mirpurkhas town and several villages in Thatta on Sunday as there appeared no end in sight to devastation caused by heaviest ever rainfall in the province’s history.

In Badin, unhindered upstream water flow continued to increase pressure on the embankments of the overtopping Left Bank Outfall Drain, forcing the administration to issue a warning to the people of 12 union councils, including Shadi Large, Khoski, Pangrio and Malkani Sharif towns, for evacuation. The warning was given after Saturday midnight through loudspeakers.

Thousands of marooned families along the LBOD and Doro Puran faced an acute shortage of food, drinking water and medicines.

According to unofficial reports, more than 30 people have died in the area, because of outbreak of gastroenteritis and other diseases.

A large number of villagers erected tents along roads and on dunes and many others are living in open areas. …

Read more → DAWN.COM

Anti-American Coup in Pakistan?

By Stanley Kurtz

The Washington Post and New York Times today feature above-the-fold front-page articles about the deteriorating situation in Pakistan. Both pieces are disturbing, the Times account more so because it explicitly raises the prospect of an anti-American “colonels coup” against Pakistan’s army chief, Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani. With all the bad news coming out of this part of the world, and plenty of trouble here at home, it’s easy to ignore stories like this. Yet these two reports are among the most alarming and important we’ve seen in a long string of bad news from Pakistan and the Middle East.

Both articles make plain the extraordinary depth and breadth of anti-American sentiment among the commanders and the rank-and-file of Pakistan’s army. While America’s insistence on keeping the bin Laden raid secret, as well as our ability to pull it off without Pakistani interference, are the immediate causes of the anger, it’s obvious that a deeper anti-American sentiment as well as some level of sympathy for al-Qaeda are also at work.

Even now Pakistan’s army is forcing American operations out of the country. They have blocked the supply of food and water to our drone base, and are actively “strangling the alliance” by making things difficult for Americans in-country.

Unfortunately, it’s now time to at least begin thinking about what the United States should do in case of either an overt anti-American coup within Pakistan’s army, or in case Kayani himself is forced to effectively break relations. Although liberation from Pakistan’s double-game and reversion to honest hostility might come as a welcome relief to some, I see no good scenario here.

Should anti-American elements in Pakistan’s army displace Kayani, they would presumably hold our supply lines to Afghanistan hostage to a cessation of drone attacks. The step beyond that would be to cut off our Afghanistan supply lines altogether. Our minimum response to either of these moves would likely be a suspension of aid (on which Pakistan’s military is now dependent) and moves to provide India with technology that would give them major advantages over Pakistan. Pakistan may run eagerly into the arms of China at that point.

These developments would pose many further dangers and questions. Could we find new supply lines, and at what geo-strategic price? Should we strike terrorist refuges in Pakistan, perhaps clashing with Pakistan’s own forces as we do so? Would Pakistan actively join the Taliban to fight us in Afghanistan? In short, would the outcome of a break between America and Pakistan be war–whether low-level or outright?

There is no good or easy answer here. If there is any single spot it would be hardest for America to walk away from conflict, Pakistan is it. Bin Laden was not alone. Pakistan shelters our greatest terrorist enemies. An inability to strike them there would be intolerable, both in terms of the danger posed for terrorism here in the United States, and for the safety of our troops in Afghanistan.

Yet the fundamental problem remains Pakistan’s nuclear capacity, as well as the sympathy of many of its people with our enemies. Successful clashes with Pakistan’s military may only prompt sympathizers to hand nuclear material to al-Qaeda. The army is virtually the only thing holding Pakistan together. A military defeat and splintering of the army could bring an Islamist coup, or at least the fragmentation of the country, and consequent massive expansion of its lawless regions. These gloomy prospects probably explain why our defense officials keep counseling patience, even as the insults from Pakistan grow.

An important question here is just how Islamist the anti-American elements of Pakistan’s military now are. Is the current trouble primarily a matter of nationalist resentment at America’s killing of bin Laden, or is this a case of outright sympathy for al-Qaeda and the Taliban in much of the army?

The answer is probably a bit of both. The difficulty is that the precise balance may not matter that much. We’ve seen in Egypt that a secular the military is perfectly capable of striking up a cautious alliance with newly empowered Islamist forces. The same thing could happen in Pakistan in the advent of an anti-American military coup. Pakistan may not be ethnically Arab, but it’s continued deterioration may be the unhappy harbinger of the so-called Arab Spring’s outcome, I fear.

At any rate, it’s time to begin at least gaming out worst-case scenarios in Pakistan.

Courtesy:  National Review Online

Via Wichaar

Pakistan ‘blocking supplies to US base’

Pakistan is blocking food and water from reaching a remote base used by the US for its secret drones programme, severely hampering counter terrorism strategy, according to a senior American official.

By Rob Crilly, Islamabad

Both sides are now briefing against the other as hostility between the two countries grows more intense – and more open – day by day.

Pakistan’s military has not recovered from the humiliation of failing to detect an American raid last month that killed Osama bin Laden and has reduced or halted co-operation with the US in protest.

A senior American official told The New York Times that supplies had been choked off to the airbase and that they were gradually “strangling the alliance” by making things difficult for the Americans in Pakistan. …

Read more: Telegraph.co.uk

Why The Chinese Love Their Death Penalty

Blood, Justice And Corruption: Why The Chinese Love Their Death Penalty

Editorial: There’s nothing that the Chinese people hate more than a corrupted official. But the government should do more to root out corruption than play to the public’s basest instincts for revenge. Still, don’t expect China’s death penalty to disappear anytime soon.

By Teng Biao

经济观察报/Worldcrunch

Of all the criminal cases in China, those involving corrupt officials sentenced to death arouse the greatest interest. The morbid examples abound: from the public cheering for the recent death sentences for the two deputy mayors of Suzhou and Hangzhou to the executions of the head of the State Food and Drug Administration, of the Secretary of Justice of Chongqing City, and of the vice chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress.

China is the global leader for the number of corrupt officials who are sentenced to death, and actually executed each year. But, judging by the seemingly endless “public demand” for this kind of punishment and the surging popular anger, it would seem that there is actually not enough of it. While so many people are “beheaded,” executives at all levels are still determined to brave death by trying to make the most of corruption. …

Read more : WorldCrunch

Where did money go, received from all over the world?

by Dr. Ahmed Makhdoom, Singapore

“Pakistan received $23.4 billion of foreign aid in the last decade.”

Where did this money and other billions of dollars that this country has received from all over the world GO?

Has been spent on schools, education – NO! Has it been spent on alleviating the miseries, deprivations and poverty of millions of poor people – NO! Has the money been spent to provide decent Health Care – certainly, NOT! So, where is the money going?

WB and IMF are gladly dishing out billions to these culprits, thieves, robbers, and leeches who rule this country – just for their own benefits and carrying forward their own nefarious, selfish, self-seeking Agenda!

They show the photographs of Sindh, where there is chronic poverty and desease to beg money from WB and IMF.

Once received this money goes to the security establishment and the ugly animals in the Governments! The photograph shows Sindhi innocent infants, toddlers and children crying for food and milk! Height of Inhumanity! Height of Injustice!

Civilised world should take cognizance of thwart is happening in this country. The Security establishment, the Government and tyrants should be taken to the International Criminal Court and tried for crimes against humanity!

Courtesy: Sindhi e-lists/ e-groups, April 19, 2011.

Behind ‘Rising India’

Behind ‘Rising India’ lies the surrender of national dignity

From India’s prime minister down, the rotten state of the world’s largest democracy has been exposed for all to see

Even the racketeers of Pakistani military and intelligence appear dignified when compared with the Indians stampeding to plant kisses on US behinds!

by Pankaj Mishra

Food prices become intolerable for the poor. Protests against corruption paralyse the national parliament for weeks on end. Then a series of American diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks exposes a brazenly mendacious and venal ruling class; the head of government adored by foreign business people and journalists loses his moral authority, turning into a lame duck.

This sounds like Tunisia or Egypt before their uprisings, countries long deprived of representative politics and pillaged by the local agents of neoliberal capitalism. But it is India, where in recent days WikiLeaks has highlighted how national democratic institutions are no defence against the rapacity and selfishness of globalised elites.

Most of the cables – being published by the Hindu, the country’s most respected newspaper in English – offer nothing new to those who haven’t drunk the “Rising India” Kool-Aid vended by business people, politicians and their journalist groupies. The evidence of economic liberalisation providing cover for a wholesale plunder of the country’s resources has been steadily mounting over recent months. The loss in particular of a staggering $39bn in the government’s sale of the telecom spectrum has alerted many Indians to the corrupt nexuses between corporate and political power. …

Read more : guardian.co.uk

Malnutrition levels in Sindh reached 21% to 23%, according to the WFP. That is above African standards. The emergency standard is 15%

Pakistan ‘crop shortage’ warning

By M Ilyas Khan, BBC News, Islamabad

Lowering wheat prices would create food shortages in Pakistan and encourage smuggling, officials say, responding to criticism from the UN.

On Wednesday the UN’s food relief agency said the government set prices too high and malnutrition was rising.

But an official at Pakistan’s food ministry told the BBC farmers would simply switch to more lucrative crops if wheat prices went down.

Devastating floods across Pakistan in 2010 damaged acres of arable land.

Although crop yields in 2011 are projected to be healthy, prices are too high for an impoverished population, the director of the UN’s World Food Programme told journalists on the sidelines of humanitarian meetings in Geneva on Wednesday.

“The crop outlook is not bad but the food security situation remains difficult because prices remain so high,” Wolfgang Herbinger said.

Smuggling risk

Malnutrition levels in the southern province of Sindh had reached 21% to 23%, according to the WFP.

“That is well above African standards. The emergency standard is 15%,” Mr Herbinger said. …

Read more : BBC

Let’s give Sindh a helping hand

Gulf News Editorial: Humanitarian bodies must ensure food and medical aid reach those affected by floods

Time has stopped for the hapless survivors in Sindh whose lives were turned upside down by the severe floods that hit the Pakistani province last year.

Surveys carried out in the wake of that disaster have revealed the extent of acute malnutrition in the region. The issue has been highlighted only recently due to prevailing social conditions and the lack of contact between the people and medical experts. Poverty levels have been at an all-time high for decades as a result of which the lives of thousands of children are also at risk.

Unicef has found that the percentage of those hit by the problem is higher than the 15 per cent emergency threshold set by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and on par with the poorest parts of sub-Saharan Africa. It has also been noted that women form a larger part of the overall figure.

While efforts are being made to address this problem, humanitarian organisations must galvanise themselves to ensure that the thousands who have been affected can obtain food and medical relief. …

Read more : Gulfnews

Indian budget projects economic growth

India’s government has unveiled its annual budget, saying that the economy is expected to grow at 9% in 2012.

Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee said the growth rate for the current fiscal year was projected at 8.5%.

He said inflation would decrease over the next fiscal year – the current rate is 8.4%. But food price inflation, at 17%, “remains a concern”.

Mr Mukherjee promised action on food security and pledged an increase in social spending. …

Read more : BBC

Will Pakistan Follow Egypt’s Example?

Author: Jayshree Bajoria, Senior Staff Writer

Pakistan may be even more vulnerable than Egypt (The News) to popular discontent, with higher inflation, unemployment, and external debt, much of it exacerbated by the devastating flood of 2010 that crippled an already teetering economy. Many Pakistanis are sympathetic (PressTV) to the anger over corruption, surging food prices, and lack of jobs driving Egypt’s protests.

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani rules out the likelihood of an uprising such as those in Egypt and Tunisia. “Our institutions are working and democracy is functional,” Gilani says (Daily Times).

Huma Yusuf, a Pakistan scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, says it is unlikely Pakistanis will unite against a common cause. “Decades of manipulative politicking under military regimes have fractured civil society (Dawn) and factionalized politics,” she writes. “We will always see ourselves through an ethnic, sectarian, or socio-economic lens before we see ourselves as Pakistani.” The murder of Pakistan’s Governor Salman Taseer by his own security guard in January, and support for Taseer’s assassin among many Pakistanis, exposed some of these growing divisions.

Like Egypt, Pakistan is an important strategic partner whose stability matters even more for U.S. national security interests, in neighboring Afghanistan as well as in U.S. efforts to confront al-Qaeda. But U.S.-Pakistan relations have been strained following the detention of a U.S. diplomat on possible murder charges. The Washington Post reports the Obama administration has suspended all high-level dialogue with Pakistan.

Read more : Council on Foreign Relations

Tunisia Unrest Inspires Jordan Protesters

Written by: VOA

Demonstrators in Jordan say they are preparing for more protests.  Massive demonstrations inspired by unrest in Tunisia have shaken what historically has been one of the most stable nations in the Middle East and raised questions about the future role of the country’s popular monarch. Some protesters in last Friday’s demonstration waved pieces of bread.

It is rising food prices, unemployment, and anger over corruption that prompted thousands to take to the streets of Amman last week. …

Read more : EurasiaReview

Pakistan has become a North Korea of South Asia, starve the people & spend resources on tanks, bombs, missiles & fighter jets

Why I don’t contribute to Desaster-Stricken Pakistan

By Patrice Lagacé

Before talking about the disaster in Pakistan, I would like to tell you about this marvelous “killing machine” called F-16.

You know what a F-16 is, don’t you? Well, it’s one of the most popular fighter planes in the world. They cost approximately $40 million each. And of course, during its lifetime, it will have cost one and half the purchase price for maintenance, repairs (and windshield washer – you wouldn’t believe the insane price of each can of windshield washer that these toys use).

So, coming back to the disaster in Pakistan . Terrible! If we weren’t talking about a Muslim country, we could refer to the flooding as being of biblical proportions: 20,000,000 disaster victims. Just appalling.

Over the last two or three days we’ve been hearing voices accusing the West (Canada and United States ) of a lack of generosity towards a very seriously afflicted Pakistan. People are being told off in Canada, France and Great-Britain.

Read more >> Germerica

SINDH – flood victims suffer food poisoning

250 flood victims suffer food poisoning – By Irfan Aligi

KARACHI: More than 250 of the 1,400 flood victims at a relief camp set up in Bengali Boys Sindhi Section School in Ibrahim Hyderi fell unconscious immediately after consuming cooked food, sources said.

The victims started vomiting and the condition of around 59 of them started worsening until they had to be taken to a nearby hospital.

The medical teams available at the camp rushed to the scene and efforts were initiated to provide immediate medical assistance to them.

A local philanthropist had been providing cooked food to the flood victims after Mukhtiarkar Asadullah Abbasi had encouraged him to do so.

A well-placed officer in the City District Government Karachi (CDGK) Revenue Department told Daily Times that by the time the food carriage arrived at the relief camp, the cooked rice had turned stale.

However, since the rice did not show any sign of rotting, it was served to the flood victims.

Subsequently, they started vomiting and majority of them fell unconscious.

Read more >> Daily Times

Pakistan – No sign of a rainbow

Banyan

No sign of a rainbow

Badly governed and short of the foreign help it needs, Pakistan’s people deserve a new covenant

….. Even the optimistic case for Pakistan’s survival is downbeat. It has long been “the most dangerous place on earth”, on the brink of some apocalypse. Yet it is more resilient than it looks. “This is Pakistan’s fifth last chance,” quips a government minister. Or, in the words of Husain Haqqani, Pakistan’s ambassador to America: “We’ll muddle through again.” Even if he is right, as Banyan hopes and believes, it is not just a question of limping through the next few weeks until the monsoon ends. The floods have washed away food and cash crops in the country’s agricultural heartland of southern Punjab. Livestock in the tens of thousands has been lost. Irrigation canals, roads, bridges and electricity networks have been damaged. The economic hardship will help provide recruits for terrorist outfits. Even if it survives without a political or social upheaval, Pakistan is going to worry its neighbours and the outside world for another generation.

To read full article >> The Economist