What Matters? 1

Mimi ON Aug 27, 2010 AT 9:44 am

Flooding in Pakistan

Flooding in Pakistan

Does the world care about Pakistan?

British people, it seems do care about the plight in Pakistan. We’ve put our hands in our pockets and donated 35 million pounds to the Pakistan floods.

However, the story over the past week has been less about the floods and more about how tight fisted the West have been responding to Pakistan.

Let’s compare Pakistan to the earthquake in Haiti earlier this year, which received donations of over 100 million pounds. The tsunami in 2004 is believed to have received a staggering 300 million pounds in donations. I’m sure few would argue that the Pakistani floods appears to be the poorer cousin here.

So, why is the West apparently reluctant to help Pakistan when they need our help the most?

‘Donor fatigue’ is apparently one of the reasons we’re not putting our hands into our pockets. I don’t know if I believe this one. Yes, we are in a recession and people don’t have spare cash, but a donation can be as small as £5. Also, if you were generous enough to give to the victims of the Haitian earthquake, why not for the victims of the Pakistani floods?

The type and scale of media coverage surrounding the story has a HUGE impact on how we perceive, react and respond to disasters.
Sadly, earthquakes and tsunamis receive more media attention and coverage (and presumably donations) compared to floods and famine.

I’m also confident in saying that the negative western news coverage of Pakistan has not helped convince the public that is a country worthy of helping. Pakistan has a very poor international image compared to other countries in the world. It was also only a couple of months ago that David Cameron suggested Pakistan is promoting the ‘export of terror’ in Afghanistan and around the world.
With that in mind I really do feel that the public are reluctant to donate and support a country that is seen to be associated and linked with terrorism.

Finally, I think we are hesitant in giving because wealthy Muslim countries appear to be reluctant in giving. What about the oil rich Gulf states? Why aren’t they helping Pakistan out? Why should the focus and pressure be heaped on the cash strapped West?
One friend of mine refuses to donate to Pakistan, a country who has spent huge sums on nuclear weapons over budgeting and saving for their expected monsoon seasons. Do you think this is fair?

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