KARACHI: United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) Goodwill Ambassador Angelina Jolie and United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) Ambassador Ewan McGregor have filmed videos in which they call on the international community to donate to Pakistan.
On August 31, Jolie filmed a video message in which she states that one-fifth of Pakistan is under water and thousands have died in the initial flooding. “The threat of disease now looms for 20 million affected people” who are in need of help, she said. “This is not just a humanitarian crisis; it is an economic and social catastrophe. The more support we can give, the greater number of tents, food, clean water and medicine will get to the people in need.”
Jolie has spoken about the need to donate to Pakistan’s flood victims before. At the premiere of her latest film Salt in the United Kingdom, she urged people to help, “This is really one (in which) we really have to urgently get in there and try and do what we can. So we will financially help and hope to visit and go when the attention dies down and to maintain the attention because it is millions and millions of people who will be uprooted for a very long time.”
At the premiere in Berlin she said, “No, of course not enough is being done in Pakistan.” And when asked what she was doing to help she stated, “I’m planning a trip, we’re contacting people on the ground, we’re speaking to people in the US government everyday ... we’re going to continue to work together and see what we can do. The scale is just so (big), it’s such a catastrophe that it’s hard to know what to do but everybody should do something.”
McGregor filmed a message stating that the floods have “affected more people than the Haiti earthquake and the 2004 tsunami combined and as in all disasters it is the children who have been the hardest hit.”
As an ambassador for Unicef he urged people to help “the estimated 3.5 million children in Pakistan (who) are in need of urgent help. The situation is desperate and I am asking you to do what you can to help these children. We need your help today to respond to the crisis.”
“The situation is becoming more and more critical, threat of diseases like malaria and cholera is really real and thousands of children already have life-threatening diarrhoea. Unicef is appealing for funds to reach those children who have lost everything. We cannot stand by and let those children who have survived the devastating floods needlessly die of disease. These children have the same right to survived and thrive as those anywhere else in the world,” stated McGregor.
He urged people watching the video, which will be shown online and as a television appeal, to donate by calling Unicef or donating via their website.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 2nd, 2010.