A humanitarian catastrophe of terrifying proportions is unfolding in Pakistan, with a fifth of the country under water, and millions of people homeless and desperately needing assistance.
Some relief efforts are underway, but the international response to the mega-disaster has been irresponsibly slow and weak -- the UN has urgently appealed for $460 million of vital aid, but just 40% has been delivered.
Relief workers warn that without an immediate increase in aid the death toll could sky-rocket. We can help by sending funds directly to the most reliable aid organizations, and by pressing our governments to step up their efforts. Let's show our leaders what generosity looks like, and demand that they join us. Click here to send a personal message to key donor governments:
And click here to donate to the relief effort:
After visiting the flood stricken areas, a visibly upset UN General Secretary, Ban Ki Moon, said “This has been a heart-wrenching day for me. In the past, I have visited many natural disasters, but I have never seen anything like this.”
Thousands of towns and villages have been washed away -- roads, buildings, bridges, crops. Now people are stranded on tiny islands surrounded by flood waters. With no clean water to drink, cholera, diarrhea and other sicknesses are on the rise, threatening the millions of people who have lost their homes and livelihoods.
The international response so far has not matched that of previous large scale disasters. Organisations like UNICEF and WHO have said they lack the funds to provide adequate assistance.
The governments of the world need to do more, and we can lead by example. Let’s stand with Pakistan at this time of crisis, and ask important donor governments to do the same.
Click here to donate:
Click here to send a message:
Our community has risen to the challenge of awful disasters before. In 2008, Avaaz members raised over 2 million dollars for the victims of Cyclone Nargis in Burma. Earlier this year, $1.4 million was raised for the victims of the earthquake in Haiti. Our ability to move quickly in times of crisis can make the difference between life or death for people struggling to cope with disaster. Let’s show the people of Pakistan that people and governments around the world stand with them in this awful crisis.
Luis, Iain, Mia, Ricken, Paul, Giulia, Ben, David, Graziela, Pascal, Milena and the rest of the Avaaz team
UN Chief’s heart wrenching appeal for Pakistan flood victims:
Pakistan floods fail to spark strong global aid:
Death toll rises from Pakistan flooding:
Avaaz Burma Cyclone relief -- http://www.avaaz.org/en/highlights#burma
Avaaz Haiti Earthquake response -- http://www.avaaz.org/en/highlights#emergency_response
Campaign victory for Guatemalan migrants
The UFCW Canada and Agriculture Workers Alliance (AWA) campaign No More Injustice and Oppression Against Migrants! has prompted the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and Canadian employer associations FERME and FARMS to stop demanding an outrageous security payment from Guatemalan migrants.
Prior to the shift in policy, over 4,000 temporary Guatemalan farm workers had to pay a $400 deposit – representing a significant portion of what the average Guatemalan earns in an entire year – before they were allowed to make an essential contribution to one of Canada's most important industries.
"This is just a small victory that will strengthen our resolve to defend the Guatemalan migrant workers who harvest our food," says UFCW Canada National President Wayne Hanley. "We will continue this fight until every discriminatory clause of this contract is reviewed and reformed to be in conformity with Canadian and international labour and human rights."
The reversal in policy was announced in a recent IOM news release that states the "security deposit for participation in the program is no longer requested."
Workers visiting AWA Centres in Saint-Remi and Saint-Eustache confirmed to activists that newly-arrived Guatemalan migrants did not have to pay the deposit. When asked about the victory, the workers expressed their gratitude to the wide number of people and organizations who are participating in the campaign by sending protest letters to the Harper Government.
The Guatemalan migrants also explained that the policy shift comes as a huge relief because the $400 deposit was almost always borrowed from loan sharks, who would take everything from the workers if they couldn't earn enough to keep up with the debt payments.
"The deposit is just one example of the rampant exploitation that exists in the federal Temporary Foreign Workers Program," says UFCW Canada national representative and AWA activist Andrea Galvez. "Just in Quebec, the agribusiness's abuse of the program led to two major complaints last year concerning Guatemalan migrants, one with the Human Rights Commission and the other with the Quebec Labour Standards Board."
According to Sister Galvez, the first complaint concerns the violation of the Guatemalan migrants' Charter rights, and the other concerns inflated housing prices forced on temporary workers by some employers.
UFCW Canada is calling on all activists, friends and supporters to join the No More Injustice and Oppression Against Migrants! campaign by sending a protest letters to Prime Minister Harper.