PAKISTAN: Salesians report on flooding impacting millions
Funds allocated by the government are insufficient to meet the growing need
(MissionNewswire) Salesian Brother Piero Ramello, who works at the Salesian Center in Lahore, Pakistan, has highlighted the destruction of the devastating flooding. The country has experienced an unusually violent and prolonged monsoon season. This has been aggravated by garbage spillage that blocks the flow of water and, in the case of floods, creates overflows that cause health-related emergencies. More than 1,000 people have died and 33 million have been displaced. The fear now is cholera.
The southern districts of Balochistan and Sindh have been the worst affected. Mountainous regions in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have also been impacted. Homes, possessions, and livelihoods have been lost. The loss of livestock impacts the many subsistence farmers in the region. Many families are in need of food, shelter and health care. The funds allocated by the government have been insufficient to meet the growing need.
Bro. Ramello said, “The main problem, besides the climatic situation, which with global warming seems to be weighing down Pakistan in particular, is the absence of a waste disposal or collection system, so throughout the country people throw garbage into the rivers. When the water becomes abundant and uncontainable, the garbage creates real barriers, obstructing normal runoff and fueling overflows and flooding of enormous proportions. Poorly conceived urban planning programs have also led to the construction of thousands of buildings in flood-prone areas. On top of that, there is the warming Earth. Pakistani officials blame climate change, saying Pakistan is suffering the consequences of irresponsible environmental practices elsewhere in the world. A disaster of rare magnitude, for which the country is in a state of emergency at an already very difficult time due to an economic collapse and deep political crisis.”
Salesians operate schools and centers in Lahore and Quetta. Salesian schools provide economic benefits, scholarships and accommodations for students from the poorest families so that education is not only accessible but also an incentive for parents to send their children to school. Pakistan has one of the lowest literacy rates in South Asia at less than 50 percent. Although the country’s constitution acknowledges free and compulsory education between the ages of 5-16, the rule is often not followed in rural areas for those over age 13.
According to the World Bank, 31.3 percent of people living in Pakistan fall below the poverty line. Gender plays a role in poverty in the country. Pakistan has traditional gender roles that define a woman’s place in the home and not the workplace. As a result, access to education is challenging for girls and society investments are less. There are few opportunities for women and girls in the country outside of traditional roles. This is evidenced by the disparities in education including the literacy rate. Female literacy in Pakistan is 71.8 percent compared to male literacy at 82.5 percent.
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World Bank – Pakistan