Floods in Pakistan

Pakistan is currently hit by devastating floods.

It is estimated that over 14 million people are affected. Many millions have no food, shelter or clean water, and there is a real threat of disease. The UN humanitarian chief reports (11 August 2010) that one in 10 of Pakistan's population have been affected by the floods and at least 6 million are in need of immediate humanitarian aid.

See latest information on:

http://www.reliefweb.int/rw/rwb.nsf/doc106?OpenForm&rc=3&cc=pak  or

PakTribune http://www.paktribune.com/

BBC News South Asia or

CNN Asia.

The Pakistan government , the United Nations and many development/aid organisations have made appeals for funds to provide emergency assistance, and to help with rebuilding the country’s devastated infrastructure.But less money is being donated than in some recent emergencies – like the Haiti earthquake in January 2010 or the South Asian tsunami in December 2004.

Among the reasons suggested for this are:·        

  • That fewer people have been killed in these floods, so far, than in some of the earlier disasters 
  • That quick impact disasters, with a single devastating event happening in a few minutes,  have greater impact and emotional appeal to donors than  this event, which has been continuing for days –even though more people may have been affected in Pakistan·        
  • That Pakistan is associated in some people’s minds with terrorism.

It seems strange that people may be happier to give to help fewer survivors of events when there have been more people killed, than they are to give to far larger numbers of people affected in an event which has initially killed relatively few people.

In a school context, this disaster seems to call for support. There are many reputable NGOs and agencies that are already engaged in work in the flooded areas in Pakistan and have appealed for funds.

Perhaps it is also appropriate to consider with students the reasons why this disaster seems to be producing a lower donor response than some earlier disasters.

What moves us? What motivates us to give?

…and why do most major disasters seem to affect poorer countries?

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