As Pakistan Drowns, the West Sits on Its Wallet

UN fears country's image problem is to blame
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 18, 2010 5:46 AM CDT
Donors Slow to Respond to Pakistan Flooding Crisis
A flood survivor sleeps along a corridor at a school building converted into a temporary camp for displaced people in Multan, Pakistan.    (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)

Western governments and individuals don't seem to care about Pakistani flooding victims nearly as much as they did about Haitian earthquake victims, UN officials say. The Pakistan crisis has left millions of people in urgent need of assistance but donations are trickling in much slower than needed, officials tell the New York Times, and less than half the $450 million needed for shelter, food, and clean water has been received.

Some analysts say Pakistan's image problem is to blame, although the UN's humanitarian director says the shortage of donations may be because a slow-moving flood—even when the results are as catastrophic as in Pakistan—fails to produce the dramatic images that an earthquake or tsunami does. "An earthquake is a much more dramatic, emotional, telegenic event because it happens so quickly," he said. (Read more Pakistan flooding stories.)

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