This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 13th (it will be out in January 2020), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

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Sunday, December 5, 2010

A Hard Reminder of the Hard Past

On a day when 12,000 Albanians have been evacuated because of flooding, and rain-fed landslides in Colombia killed dozens of people, the BBC News also offers a hard reminder of what happens when disaster strikes outside the scope of modern day rescue efforts. One of their reporters and a crew went deep into a remote part of southern Pakistan that was affected by flooding several months ago. What they found was a small village that is still in shock, and which offers a glimpse of what probably happened to countless human settlements over the course of hundreds of thousands of years of human society:

Pirral Faqir, one of the elders, speaks for them all.
For the last few months, he told me, they were marooned, sleeping in the open air without bedding or blankets.
The village tube wells, their source of clean water, were out of action.
All they had to drink was contaminated floodwater. They were constantly hungry. All the livestock gradually died.
As the months passed, many of the villagers became ill with vomiting and fever which they suspect was malaria.
One man had a stroke. Another man, pulled from the floodwater, suffered brain damage.
Three children became so ill that they eventually died. Pirral Faqir solemnly indicated his two younger brothers who each lost a son.
Welcome to a past that we thought, in truth, was long behind us.

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