West News Wire: Malala Yousafzai, a Nobel Prize winner and activist, is currently in Pakistan’s flood-affected regions. This is only her second trip home since being shot in the head on her way home from school in 2012.
Over 1,700 people have died since June as a result of Pakistan’s unheard-of floods, which were brought on by torrential rain and melting glaciers and swamped nearly one-third of the nation.
The government, which is already dealing with a financial crisis, has asked for aid and debt relief from international organizations and other countries and puts the deluge’s damage at $40 billion.
The unprecedented floods affected more than 33 million people. Around 13 million of people are still alive, according to a satellite survey by the United Nations between October 3 and October 9, approximately 13 million of them remain “potentially exposed or living close to flooded areas”.
There is also a fear of the spread of waterborne diseases which have killed hundreds so far.
Yousafzai, 25, who is a UN “messenger of peace” and a global girls’ education campaigner, is accompanied by her husband and parents on her visit to Pakistan, home to 220 million people.
A statement issued by her foundation, Malala Fund, said the visit is aimed at keeping the international attention “focused on the impact of floods in Pakistan and reinforce the need for critical humanitarian aid”.
Last month, the foundation issued an emergency grant to the International Rescue Committee to provide support to girls in Balochistan, one of the worst-hit provinces by the floods.
Shortly after her arrival on Tuesday, Yousafzai visited a primary school in Karachi and spent an hour there.
Last month, the activist met Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on the sidelines of the annual UN General Assembly in New York to discuss the challenges for millions of Pakistani children due to the catastrophic floods.
Yousufzai was 17 when she became the youngest person to win the Nobel Peace Prize, which she shared with India’s child rights activist Kailash Satyarthi, in 2014.
Her visit also marks the 10th anniversary of the 2012 attack on her by members of the Pakistan Taliban armed group for her campaign for girls’ education in northwest Pakistan.
Incidentally, Yousafzai’s visit coincides with violence and unrest in her native place, the picturesque Swat Valley in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.
On Monday, in an attack reminiscent of the attack on Yousafzai 10 years ago, a school van driver was shot dead and a boy wounded by an unknown attacker in the valley’s Charbagh town.
The killing triggered a large protest on Tuesday which was attended by thousands of demonstrators demanding better security for the residents.
On October 9, 2012, a 15-year-old Yousufzai was shot in the head when she was returning home from school. She was shifted to the United Kingdom for better treatment later that year, where she continues to live.