More than two weeks have passed since the heaviest rains from the monsoon season occurred in Pakistan. The resulting floods have overwhelmed roughly 20 percent of the country, and nearly 20 million people have been affected. Some 1,600 people have died, a million homes have been destroyed, and basic necessities such as shelter, clean water, food, and medical care are needed. The number of people suffering from the massive floods in Pakistan exceeds 13 million—more than the combined total of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, the 2005 Kashmir earthquake and the 2010 Haiti earthquake, according to the United Nations.
For some, it may be difficult to reconcile the immediate need for alleviation from suffering and the perception of Pakistan being a dangerous and untrustworthy country to give to. We must put aside those perceptions and focus on the tremendous needs of our fellow human beings. Is one disaster more qualified than another? It is an opportunity and a responsibility for philanthropy to demonstrate the action and compassion of providing relief and rebuilding a country that is being destroyed before our eyes.
Many foundations have already stepped up in recent days, and the Council is tracking these efforts on our United States International Grantmaking (USIG) website. Many of these efforts are financial in nature, but that is just one of the many ways to make an impact. Tell us how you are collaborating with other funders, sharing ideas and information, and partnering with stakeholders to make a difference in communities here and around the globe.
We encourage you to let us know of your response efforts by sending them to firstname.lastname@example.org. We will make updates to the web page on Pakistan as we receive new information.
Andrew Ho is manager of global philanthropy for the Council on Foundations.