Global aid response to Pakistan floods comparatively poor

By ASSOCIATED PRESS
August 14, 2010 00:35

The global aid response to the Pakistan floods has so far been much less generous than to other recent natural disasters — despite the soaring numbers of people affected and the prospect of more economic ruin in a country key to the fight against Islamist extremists.

Reasons include the relatively low death toll of 1,500, the slow onset of the flooding compared with more immediate and dramatic earthquakes or tsunamis, and a global "donor fatigue" — or at least a Pakistan fatigue.

Triggered by monsoon rains, the floods have torn through the country from its mountainous northwest, destroying hundreds of thousands of homes and an estimated 1.7 million acres (nearly 700,000 hectares) of farmland. In southern Pakistan, the River Indus is now more than 15 miles (25 kilometers) wide at some points — 25 times wider than during normal monsoon seasons.

The floods have disrupted the lives of 14 million people — 8 percent of the population. Many are living in muddy camps or overcrowded government buildings, while thousands more are sleeping in the open next to their cows, goats and whatever possessions they managed to drag with them.


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