In last week’s editorial we raised questions about the water crisis in the nation, particularly the precarious situation at that time in Jackson, Mississippi as well as in our drinking water here in a NYCHA housing unit. Thankfully, both have been for the moment remedied but not to the point of completely assuring residents in either place. 

We were pleased to learn that NY Rep. Yvette D. Clarke has been equally concerned about water conditions, whether here or abroad. Last summer she introduced the Safe School Drinking Water Act, legislation to protect children from the harmful impacts of lead contamination in drinking water in schools.  Lately, we learn that she has taken on another water crisis, this one a devastating one far from our shores in Pakistan.

Many of you are certainly aware of the record amount of rainfall in Pakistan and the nearby region resulting from the summer’s monsoon season. Rep. Clarke and several of her colleagues in the House of Representatives, notably Sheila Jackson Lee, are urging the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to grant Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to Pakistanis currently living in the U.S.   

In a letter addressed to the Honorable Alejandro N. Mayorkas, the department’s secretary, they wrote that the flooding is “the worst seen in Pakistan in over a decade, claiming the lives of more than 1100 peoples. Bridges, agricultural lands, and countless homes have also been destroyed, causing over 33 million people to be displaced or otherwise impacted.”

Also reported is an outbreak of waterborne diseases at relief camps established by the government, and that must give the issue additional resonance for Rep. Clarke given her concern for lead poisoning in water. 

We made reference to the global impact of the water crisis without citing particular instances of such a problem, and we are thankful that the ever vigilant Rep. Clarke has brought the issue in Pakistan to our attention—and we certainly hope that the leaders at the Department of Homeland Security express the same sense of urgency. 

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