If you're like me, you've been watching the tragic floods in Pakistan with a sickening sense of helplessness. Although the death tolls to this point "only" number in the thousands—and thus the event hasn't grabbed the world's attention like the 2004 tsunami or the earthquakes in Pakistan in 2005 or in Haiti earlier this year—more people have been affected by this disaster than by all three of those events combined. A month ago the United Nations was already calling this the worst humanitarian crisis in recent history, and it's now thought that around 21 million people have been injured or displaced by the floods.
Millions upon millions of lives are still at stake. Rescue and relief efforts are ongoing, but many folks I talk to seem to feel sort of helpless to help.
But there is something we all can do. A Washington, D.C.-based organization called EcoEnergyFinance is raising money to purchase solar lanterns to use in rescue and relief efforts. EEF "was established to provide clean and efficient energy solutions to the rural poor in Pakistan," usually by helping finance small-scale solar. But they're responding with urgency to the crisis at hand, and have a goal of buying 1,000 solar lanterns to ship to Pakistan as soon as possible.
As EEF founder Shazia Khan wrote in an email plea:
In an effort to provide immediate relief to the flood victims, EEF is purchasing solar lanterns from Greenlight Planet to be distributed by our partners in rural Pakistan to the regions affected by the flood. Solar lanterns are crucial for disaster relief simply because they provide light for rescue shelters, health clinics for treating children with malaria and cholera, and search and rescue missions. These lanterns are portable, waterproof, and provide 16 hours of light after a 4 hour solar charge, making them ideal for disaster relief. The cost of each lantern is $12.We urgently need your help. Through your generous donations, you can help us reach our goal of sending 1,000 lanterns to the flood victims.\n
Lanterns are $12 each. I think the GOOD community can go a long way in helping EEF meet their 1,000-lantern goal, and I hope we can help them blow past it. (We saw in Haiti how important solar lanterns were in for earthquake relief efforts there.) Your $12 will buy a lantern that will save lives in Pakistan.
Go to EEF's website and click on the donate link on the right.
Image: Sun King Solar Lantern