Graeme McMeekin: If we come together we can send a lifeline to Pakistan

As we typically complain in Scotland about experiencing varying degrees of weather patterns all in one day, it seems this year has been even more unusual.

With temperature gauges soaring to new heights this summer, it is becoming ever more evident that climate change is getting closer to our doorsteps. Yet as we see current scenes from Pakistan, where a staggering third of the country is under water as a result of devastating floods, the contrast is still quite stark.

Right now, six million people, slightly more than the population of Scotland, are in immediate need, and that number could increase. Lives have been lost, entire villages swept away, homes destroyed or badly damaged, and many people left without shelter, in urgent need of food and clean drinking water.

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In some provinces, such as the Sindh province, they are experiencing eight times the average rainfall for the Monsoon season. The situation is dire.

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It is hard for any of us experiencing a particularly erratic Scottish summer to begin to imagine. Heavy rains crashing through your home or sweeping it away. Running outside in a panic - knee-deep in water with your child in your arms - looking for a place of safety. Seeing nothing but a murky lake in the place where your crops of rice were growing, ready to be harvested in October. Your livelihood, the harvest you depended on to feed your family, washed away. The livestock gone. Everything you needed to survive.

Today in Pakistan this is the reality for so many. 33 million people, the equivalent to half of the population of the UK, have been affected overall. This is loss on a devastating scale. And the rain is set to continue. The monsoon season may continue for another month and even then the crisis isn’t over. Waterborne disease is likely to spread due to the standing water. Food shortages caused by the lack of crops are only exacerbated by a global food shortage.

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Tearfund is one of the 15 leading aid agencies that form the Disasters Emergency Committee to raise funds quickly and efficiently at times of crisis overseas. Tearfund’s partner agencies are already responding by providing fresh water, mosquito nets and food parcels to those in desperate need. However the scale of the problem is immense.

There is a short-term immediate need to provide the essentials to sustain life, but in the long-term communities need support to rebuild homes and prepare the ground for the re planting of seeds.

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The devastation in Pakistan can seem overwhelming, but by coming together, we can send a lifeline. We can help those suffering such loss by supporting the joint efforts of the DEC (Disasters Emergency Committee), where a donation of £50 could provide emergency shelters for two families when they have nothing else to shield them from the storms.

Even in Scotland, the record high temperatures are signalling to us that we need to waken up and smell the coffee and get serious about the climate crisis. But we should be looking at these scenes right now today, and caring that millions of people on the other side of the world are currently paying the price for something they have done very little to cause, and we haven’t been doing enough about.

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The changing climate is a concern for us all. But for people in Pakistan right now, the situation is literally life or death. We can do something in this moment, if we choose to, to respond.

Show your support for the recovery efforts by donating to the DEC Pakistan Floods Appeal at www.dec.org.uk or by calling 0370 60 60 900.

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Graeme McMeekin leads Tearfund’s work in Scotland and is a spokesperson for the Disasters Emergency Committee