Contextualizing the Pakistan Floods, Closer to Home

Several reports have come out recently about why the victims of the Pakistan floods have not received as much attention or aid as other natural disasters of a similar or even lesser scale. The Sydney Morning Herald reported that “Australians have charity blind spot on Pakistan“, and NPR also published a similar story about why Americans have given less to Pakistan’s flood victims. Apart from the general perception that floods are less destructive or “urgent” in comparison to other natural disasters that can incur larger death tolls, NPR cited relative lack of news coverage on the floods as another factor in low donations to flood relief.

The general lack of attention and compassion given to the Pakistan floods came up in discussion at Crisis Camp Sydney, as we sifted through and geocoded SMS detailing damage done to villages across the country. One agreed-upon reason for the public apathy was the general lack of news and knowledge about the flooding. Maps showing the extent of the damage would, we thought, go a long way in raising awareness about the floods. Luckily some smart folks had beaten us to the thought, as a fellow Crisis Camper pulled up two mapping sites (IfItWereMyHome.com and BBC Dimensions) which showed that IF the Pakistan floods had occurred in Australia, a good half of the Australian west coast would’ve been devastated – a sobering thought.

Pakistan Floods Over Australia (from IfItWereMyHome.com)

Want to help? UNICEF, Oxfam, and World Vision provide ongoing news coverage from Pakistan and are raising funds to support ongoing water, sanitation, and other initiatives on the ground. You can also donate time by processing flood assessment SMS from Pakistan through Crowdflower – detailed how-to instructions can be found at PakReport.

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  1. i think it really is all about media coverage – when people don’t know about it, they relly don’t care. on the flip side, when CNN is broadcasting images of lets say, Haiti (not comparing the severity of the disasters), for hours and days at a time – it really tugs on people’s heartstrings.

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