National Sections of the L5I:

Support Workers and Youth Relief Campaign!

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In Pakistan, floods started in June and peaked in mid-August leaving almost 1500 people dead even according to official figures, which are likely to be an underestimation. Some 1.7 million houses have been ruined and half of the country's 160 districts officially declared "calamity-hit" zones. Around 7,000 kilometres of roads were washed away and 250 bridges were destroyed, according to reports released by Pakistan's National Disaster Management Authority.

According to initial estimates, 65 percent of Pakistan’s food crops, including 70 percent of rice, were washed away during the floods. In addition, 3 million cattle have been killed and a total of 45 percent of agricultural land has been destroyed. The initial estimate of the total losses is more than 30 billion dollars. Further increases in these figures and estimates are likely because the flood is far from over.

This is the severest humanitarian crisis in the history of Pakistan. Social organisations, grassroots activists, trade unionists, socialists and young people are campaigning and collecting food, clothes, medicine and pads for women as the government is responding very slowly and the UN response is very low in comparison to the scale of the destruction. At the same time, as millions suffer, the country is wrecked by cuts and austerity packages imposed by the IMF and policies designed to safeguard the assets and property of the capitalists and large land owners.

The Workers and Youth Relief Campaign has been formed by young people, trade unions and socialists to raise money and supplies to send to those affected by the floods. It is supported by the Revolutionary Socialist Movement, the Home-based and Domestic Workers' Union and the Punjab Rikshaw Drivers' Union. It has already collected R146,000 (rupees) as well as food, medicines, blankets and other emergency supplies to send to the affected areas.

Diseases are spreading in the affected areas and serious food shortages. It will take two months for the flood water to drain away and that in turn will prevent the sowing of the next wheat crop. That means food will have to be imported. Even before the flood, food prices were rising, with inflation at 27.3 percent.

The poor and dispossessed in Pakistan urgently need basic emergency food stuffs and other supplies. We urge brothers and sisters across the international labour movement to come to the aid of grassroots campaigns in Pakistan responding to this crisis.

Solidarity donations, however, important as they are, will not be able to make up for all the destruction. Therefore, we call on all working class, youth and progressive organisations to fight for the cancelation of debt, the scrapping of the IMF austerity programme, demanding the rich pay and aid without strings from the imperialist countries!

Workers' and Youth Relief Campaign: Home-based and Domestic Workers' Union, Punjab Rikshaw Drivers' Union, Daily Wage Workers, Revolutionary Socialist Movement
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