Children in need in Islamabad
Waves For Water (in conjunction with JP HRO’s CEO) has launched a full fledged effort to help the victims of the recent floods that have left nearly 12 million people homeless—
Combined with our NGO partners on the ground, such as GOAL Ireland (http://www.goal.ie/) whom are assisting in field distribution and training, there is a group of mindful and seriously relevant contributors who have stepped up to support this initiative.
Project Pakistan will provide 6000 W4W filtration systems in its first phase, to flood victims across the country. This translates to over 60,000 people getting access to clean water. W4W recently sent two representatives (Pakistan Project Manager, Christian Troy & associate, Jordan Tappis) to Pakistan to kick-off the project.
Below are pictures from their trip and an article Jordan wrote about their experience on the ground and first phases of this initiative. More updates to follow—
Touring and IDP camp outside of Islamasbad
Man vs. Monsoon
Words and Pictures by Jordan Tappis
On July 28, a monsoon of biblical proportions thrashed the Islamic Republic of Pakistan creating the largest humanitarian crisis in modern history. Twenty million people were ravaged by a mountain of flood water overflowing riverbanks and bursting dams ‘ exceeding the number of individuals affected by the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, the 2005 Kashmir earthquake and the 2010 Haiti earthquake combined. Nearly one-fifth of the country is now underwater, 12 million are homeless, a lethal strain of cholera is reaching epidemic levels, and thousands are dead. Entire bloodlines are on the precipice of extinction as men, women and children continue to perish.
Despite the millions of displaced refugees and the dire need for aid, a confluence of intricate challenges has undermined the international relief effort: Taliban militants garrisoned along Pakistan’s jagged borders, rampant thievery, political volatility and a general mistrust of its government continue to dissuade would-be donors from lending meaningful support. As a result, of the $8 billion needed for aid, less than $900 million has actually been pledged to the people of Pakistan. (As of press time, less than $500 million had actually been collected) Meanwhile, the people of Pakistan are suffering through what U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called, “the most devastating humanitarian crisis the world has ever seen.”
In September, my longtime friend, Christian Troy, and I had the opportunity to visit Pakistan for six days (including travel) on behalf of a nongovernmental organization (and its partner in this Pakistan initiative — JP HRO’s CEO) that has been instrumental in the Haitian relief effort: Waves For Water (or W4W), a nonprofit organization that provides clean-water solutions for people in need. Our mission was to assess the situation on the ground, identify effective applications for the W4W water filtration systems, establish and test supply lines, and develop reliable distribution networks ‘ all while trying to avoid being kidnapped, accidentally violating Sharia law, contracting cholera, malaria or one of myriad contagious diseases threatening the only Islamic republic with nuclear weapons.
For all intents and purposes, our six-day, 15,000-mile voyage around the world was a success. We set up three separate water filtration pilot programs, which will, in total, amount to distributing nearly 4,000 filters in the most heavily affected regions in the Sindh and Punjab provinces, with the potential to distribute an additional 10-20,000 filters down the line. (Four thousand W4W filters can provide clean water for up to 40,000 people for an entire year.) During our first 24 hours “in country,” we met with various governmental and nongovernmental organizations as well as local aid syndicates, demonstrated our filtration systems and attempted to identify ways for W4W to factor into the greater relief effort. For two willing guys with little experience in NGO bureaucracy or disaster relief, the experience was dizzying. It was like cramming six months of grad school into an afternoon.
On our last day in Pakistan, we visited a displaced persons camp in Peshawar, a small city about an hour-and-a-half drive northwest of Islamabad. This shantytown consisted of 150 makeshift tents ‘ mostly donated by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees ‘ 200 prefab shelters bestowed by the great country of Turkey, one water supply replenished daily by the French organization Medicines Sans Frontieres, and a thousand or so Sunni refugees all crammed onto a small piece of land along the side of the road in dusty, rural Pakistan. It would be impossible for Christian and me to imagine such a patch of scorched desperation anywhere along our home stretch of Pacific Coast Highway.
The Pakistani people are smart. They are kind, family orientated, loving, and despite the seemingly never-ending struggle they endure, they maintain a deep-rooted sense of strength and benevolence. During our visit, Christian and I were treated with respect and gracious hospitality, never mind the fact that our home country is fighting an extremely unpopular war in their backyard.
There has been a lot of public debate over whether or not Westerners should donate to the relief effort in Pakistan. Many people feel comfortable donating to Haiti, but they have been reluctant to donate their hard-earned money to a country that’s been accused of “harboring terrorists.” A fundamental change needs to happen on both sides of this issue in order for the people of Pakistan to survive this crisis, and I sincerely hope we don’t let politics, skepticism, a lack of understanding or small factions of religious zealots prevent millions of good people from getting the help they so desperately need.
To see this article and more online visit — http://www.malibumag.com/site/article/man_vs._monsoon/