Pakistan: Schools Washed Away

Twenty-one million people. Sixty-two thousand square miles of land. These figures have meant little to the international community, but for Pakistan it means unprecedented destruction which has rolled back its already limited development by years. To put these figures in perspective, the floods in Pakistan have affected an area larger than England and displaced a population the size of New York State. The United Nations has termed the Pakistani floods as one of the worst natural disasters in human memory and has launched an unprecedented appeal for $2 billion dollars for immediate relief and reconstruction efforts. The international community’s response has been sluggish at best, due to Pakistan’s reputation for being a haven for terrorism. Charities and disaster relief non-profits have had immense difficulty raising funds from private individuals and organizations. According to initial UNESCO estimates, almost 10 thousand public schools have been affected across the country, depriving up to 3 million students of basic access to education. Considering that the primary literacy rate in Pakistan is barely over 50 percent, the damage done to schools and educational institutions will further reduce this rate in the years to come. The Pakistani government spends a mere 2.1 percent of its GDP on education and is way short of reaching the literacy targets laid out in the U.N. Millennium Development Goals. Many rural areas and large parts of the Balochistan and...

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