August 28, 2010 in Nation/World

U.S. stinting on aid to Pakistan

David Crary Associated Press

hits delta

SUKKUR, Pakistan – Floodwaters that have reached the Indus River delta displaced at least 1 million southern Pakistan residents in recent days, U.N. officials said Friday, a significant escalation of what is already the country’s worst natural disaster in its history. Farther upstream in central and northern Pakistan, floodwaters have begun to recede.

Los Angeles Times

NEW YORK – Americans are giving a paltry amount for relief efforts in flood-stricken Pakistan compared to other overseas disasters. They were more than 40 times more generous for the Haiti earthquake.

Reasons include the slow-motion nature of the calamity, relatively scant TV coverage, and – unmistakably – the fact that the strategic Muslim ally is viewed warily by many Americans.

No disasters are alike. Yet a month into Pakistan’s flood catastrophe, with 8 million people in dire need and a fifth of its territory affected, the donation comparisons are startling.

InterAction, an umbrella group for U.S. relief agencies active abroad, says its affiliates have raised about $12 million thus far for Pakistan, compared to more than $500 million at the same stage of the Haiti earthquake relief effort earlier this year.

The American Red Cross, traditionally the biggest recipient of disaster relief donations, has collected about $2 million for Pakistan and is dipping into a contingency fund to support its work there. At the same stage, it had raised about $100 million in response to the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, more than $670 million for Hurricane Katrina and about $230 million for the Haiti quake.

“People find it complicated to understand our relationship with Pakistan – how the government works, who to trust,” said Stacy Palmer, editor of the Chronicle of Philanthropy, which has been tracking the donations.

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