[by Matt Goldberg]
Director of Community Relations
Jewish Community of Louisville
Pakistan is a nation that has had a turbulent history… from a constant state of war, terrorist attacks, political upheaval, and extreme poverty. But at this moment, Pakistan faces a humanitarian crisis that is unprecedented in its history, and unimaginable by anyone’s standards.
Recent floods in that country have caused an area of land the size of the state of Florida to be completely submerged, with the Indus river surging at 40 times its normal volume. Thousands of people have died, 5 million people (and climbing) are now homeless, and 17 million people in total have been negatively affected. According to Pakistani government figures, 10,000 schools have been destroyed.
Pakistan is a largely agricultural economy. The floods have left 20 percent of farmland inundated and 60 percent of all of Pakistan’s exports (mainly cotton) wiped out. Additionally, much of the affected population depends on livestock for basic subsistence, and the livestock are in peril.
Pakistan will need years, perhaps decades, to fully recover, but the surviving population has immediate needs that simply cannot wait.
With all of the flooding, disease is also an immediate concern, with an emerging cholera epidemic threatening a large portion of the population. They need potable drinking water now.
The Jewish community here in Louisville has developed a close friendship with the local Pakistani American community, particularly the Association of Physicians of Pakistani Descent of Kentucky and Indiana (APPKI). APPKI has partnered with the Jewish community in the past in raising money for relief efforts in Haiti, and now they need our help. We are asking for donations to purchase a water purification kit, which we will supply to our friends in the Louisville Pakistani American community, to be sent directly to the affected areas.
Please mail your donations to the Jewish Community of Louisville, and put “Pakistani Flood relief” in the memo line, and please mail your donations by September 25. If we can raise $5,000, we can purchase one water purification kit.
The families of our friends in the Louisville Pakistani-American community need our help, and we will be there to provide it. This is the Jewish thing to do.