In the last week something that has received fairly limited coverage in the press has been the devastating floods in Pakistan. Compared with the Haitian disaster, which struck around six months ago, the Pakistan disaster has not been perceived as being quite so significant.
The earthquake, which struck the island in January 2010, left 2m homeless and and further 3m in need of aid. The floods in Pakistan have affected 20m, almost a fifth of the country’s population. Only today, almost three weeks after the floods began have Saudi Arabia, a close Islamic neighbour of the country offered its support, pledging to donate $107m (£68m). This adds to the further $87m donated by the US and the £31m from the UK, but it is still a far smaller amount than what was given for the Haitian disaster, which was in the region of $580m (£372m). Certain countries have been slightly reluctant to bequeath financial support because of the speculation that the money will in turn find its way into the hands of corrupt government officials or members of some Islamic extremist organisation. Barack Obama, speaking ahead of Hilary Clinton’s promise to donate an addition $150m to the country in an attempt to show the Muslim world that the US is on their ‘side’ has responded to these rumblings by saying that; ‘Politics should play no role.’ The hand of God is clearly on their side, whoever they maybe.
The real solution though is not God, it is perhaps a little bit smaller and a little bit cheaper. The Lifesaver bottle, developed by Michael Pritchard must be an option that all governments worldwide need consider. It is the invention of turning polluted water into clean, sterile water at the cost of 0.5c a day by just a few weak pumps, thus resulting in saving the lives of millions. With billions of dollars being spent worldwide in foreign aid, the possibility of providing drinking water for the entire world must be too good to pass up. To provide each and everyone with clean water the total cost is in the region of $20bn and this would save people from contacting diseases such as diarrhea and viruses like Polio as well as reducing the amount of plastic that gets wasted on non-recyclable bottles. In Haiti, around 165,000 bottles were shipped to try and ease the burden of available clean water, but the Lifesaver bottle would do this job forever.