Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Help Pakistan. Better.

This summer's floods have been devastating -- in the US, Europe, China, and nowhere more so than Pakistan. All these nations, and especially Pakistan, have been in our parish prayers. In our sermon last Sunday, on the way to another point, we said this about Pakistan:
The news just keeps getting worse. A levee broke last week, and a million people became homeless in 24 hours. I want to I want to be part of a community -- I want to be part of a church -- that takes care of the people in Pakistan. They do not share my faith; many of them do not like my nation; none of them will ever have the means to reward me. But I want to help them, not not because they will be grateful, but because God be pleased.
We were entirely in earnest. Helping Pakistan strikes us as an urgent task. Our reasons are humanitarian, but we would be lying if we did not recognize that there is also a geopolitical urgency here. The US is prosecuting a war in the region, which we at the Egg support even if we have doubts about its prosecution, and the success of this war depends to some degree upon cooperation with Pakistan, both officially and among the ordinary people.

So we are pleased to read that Lutheran World Relief, through its ecumenical partner Act Alliance, has delivered 70 tons of supplies to Pakistan, and hopes to deliver nearly 3,000 more in the near future. And we are likewise pleased that the US government has provided $200 million and, so far, millions of pounds of supplies.

But we are concerned by this Danger Room post. It describes the shortcomings of the US aid to Pakistan -- coordination between the military and civilian agencies is not as easy as it was in Haiti; the money is less than went to Haiti, despite a far larger population; and so forth. There are good reasons for most of this, to be sure. A flood isn't an earthquake. Haiti wasn't a war zone. The Haitian government, such as it is, welcomed American intervention in a way that Pakistan can't manage politically.

Still, the post suggests strongly that we could be doing better, particularly in the use of innovative technology to coordinate military and civilian work. And by doing that, we would not only make new friends in a difficult place, but we would save lives.

1 comment:

PS (PSanafter-thought) said...

I've read that a great deal of the money pledged to Haiti hasn't yet been coughed up (from various governments around the world. Not sure about the US money, but I think that some of it is only in "pledges" so far.) Is it getting where people just get something out of saying that they will help, but not really helping with money? Are we getting worn out with these requests for money? Where are the governments getting all this extra money to help in disasters? I thought that most governments are broke. I read that it is important to send money, but I can't see that money can buy the needed goods within a devastated country.

I'm not suggesting that we don't help, but I AM wondering about these things. Glad to hear that LWR actually delivered some supplies.