Friday, August 27, 2010

Pakistan floods unleash desperate economic crisis

By Ali Ismail, wsws.org, Aug 26, 2010

The catastrophic floods spreading across Pakistan have dashed any hopes of an economic recovery in the poverty-stricken country. The estimated death toll is around 1,500, but this number is expected to increase significantly in the coming weeks.

Millions of displaced Pakistanis are threatened with starvation and an epidemic of water-borne diseases. According to the United Nations, there have already been over 120,000 documented cases of dengue and malaria, while hundreds of thousands have been affected by skin infections and diarrhea. The World Health Organization stated that there has been a 30 percent increase in cases of diarrhea around the country since the flooding began.

The Pakistani economy had already been reeling from the global economic crisis and the militancy fueled by Islamabad’s partnership with US imperialism even before the onset of the floods. Over 30 percent of the country’s cultivated farmland is submerged while nearly 20 million Pakistanis, 13 percent of the population, have been displaced by the floods. The Pakistani ruling elite and its allies abroad fear that widespread social unrest could arise out of food shortages and inflation caused by the devastation.

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