The floods which have hit Pakistan will take years to recover from. Richard Holbrooke, the US special envoy to Pakistan and Afghanistan said “many billions” of dollars will be needed to recover from this disaster which has left a fifth of the county under water, affected 20 million people with nearly 1,500 people dead and there is an increased risk of diseases such as cholera, typhoid and hepatitis.
The aid from the international community has been slowly trickling in but is no way enough to provide for all those affected by the floods. Jemima Khan wrote on her Twitter account, “The international community has committed funding that works out at just over $3 per flood affected person. The commitment per person after the 2005 Pakistan earthquake was $70 and for this year’s Haiti earthquake (was) $495.”
Foreign celebrities who have begun relief efforts are Hollywood actor Angelina Jolie and Mike Shinoda. Jolie is a goodwill ambassador for the United Nations (UN) High Commissioner for Refugees and has donated $100,000 to help those affected by the floods. The actor has not ruled out coming to Pakistan to further aid the millions affected by this disaster.
Shinoda is a member of rock band Linkin Park and is a rapper for his side project, Fort Minor. On his official blog Shinoda wrote about efforts being conducted by Music for Relief (MFR).
MFR is a “grassroots effort comprised of musicians, music industry professionals and fans who believe that together we can create positive change,” and one of the organisations missions is to provide support in disaster struck areas. The idea for MFR originated amongst the members on Linkin Park and they are the founders of MFR which was established in 2005.
Shinoda wrote that “MFR is teaming up with the UN Refugee Agency and are aiming to provide shelter and life-saving aid to the millions of people in need”. MFR are aiming to serve 560,000 survivors and all the donations made to help the victims of the flood have been guaranteed to reach Pakistanis in need. MFR has further pledged to match individual donations of up to $10,000.
“Once you’ve taken action, please share your support of MFR for the Pakistan Floods on Facebook, Twitter or forward this email to friends and family and ask them to do the same,” posted Shinoda.
The floods in Pakistan have not yet been able to draw the kind of attention that the Haiti earthquake did. Large numbers of celebrities did their part for Haiti with George Clooney hosting the Hope for Haiti telethon which brought in other major Hollywood actors including Leonardo DiCaprio, Jack Nicholson and Jennifer Aniston and musicians such as U2, Taylor Swift and Beyonce. Oscar winning writer turned director, Paul Higgis organised a charity gala to help benefit Haitian children affected by the earthquake which was co-emceed by Russell Crowe, attended by actor James Franco and a special performance was given by hip-hop star Timbaland. Musicians Christina Aguilera, Shakira and Wyclef Jean and actor Sean Penn all visited Haiti to spend time with those affected and raise funds for them. Supermodel Naomi Campbell held a Fashion for Relief runway in which musician Chris Brown participated and over 80 of the biggest stars in the music industry gathered to sing a charity remake of hit song “We are the World” in support of Haitian earthquake relief.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 21st, 2010.
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