28 July 2011 marks the first anniversary of the 2010 floods in Pakistan — one of the world’s most devastating natural disasters in recent times. Nearly a fifth of the country was flooded, affecting over 20 million people and resulting in some 14 million people in need of humanitarian aid. Livestock was killed, crops were destroyed, and infrastructure and other livelihood assets were damaged on an unprecedented scale.
…let’s hope that grasspea consumption is not excessive. It saves lives but for some it is at the cost of lifelong crippling. Hence its use as a food needs to be managed carefully.
I wondered why grasspea consumption might be expected to be excessive after floods, and Dirk was kind enough to explain:
…since it is cultivated there, it grows after floods when other crops don’t and some people have nothing else to eat; and it is cheaply available from across the border in India — classic situation for a lathyrism epidemic…
Interesting, I thought. So is there any evidence of a lathyrism epidemic in Pakistan in the aftermath of the flooding. Google Trends picks up the blip in searches for “Pakistan floods” in 2010, of course, but there are no subsequent blips for “lathyrism” or indeed “epidemic”.
And there’s also no evidence from Google of increased references to lathyrism in news items after the 2010 floods.
Not yet, anyway. Something to keep an eye on…