The Clean Water Crisis in Pakistan

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If one tenth people’s lives were being imperiled by terrorists rather than a giant flood I have to imagine the policy response would be much more overwhelming:

As Pakistan reels from its worst floods in memory, United Nations officials said Monday that 3.5 million children and infants were at a particularly high risk of diseases borne by dirty water.

“Clean water is an urgent need,” said Maurizio Giuliano, a United Nations spokesman, who said the international agencies dealing with children and health were both suffering from shortages of funds. The United Nations, whose secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, flew over flooded areas of Pakistan on Sunday, has appealed for international donations of $460 million, but only one-third of that of that has been provided, Mr. Giuliano said in a telephone interview.

And it’s worth recalling that this isn’t just about coming to the assistance of the afflicted. Growing concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are driving increased frequency of extreme weather events to which current patterns of human residential and economic life are poorly adopted. You wouldn’t deliberately drive your car over a Pakistani kid’s foot.