Since Pakistan’s involvement in the ‘War on Terror’, terrorism in the country has taken a large leap. It is the single most country that has heavily paid the price for the war through the deaths of thousands of civilians, stagnancy of its economy and by almost becoming a pariah in the world. Yet, on every visit of a high-ranking US or UK diplomat and official to the country, we are told to ‘Do more’ in the fight against extremism.
Besides being beset with economic, social and political problems and instability, today the country is faced with a challenge that it can not cope with without the world: the most destructive floods in its history.
Described by United Nations as “the greatest humanitarian crisis in recent history with the number of people suffering possibly to exceed the combined total in three recent megadisasters – the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, the 2005 Kashmir earthquake and the 2010 Haiti earthquake.”
Leaving 20 million affected, the floods have ravaged Pakistan from the core.
To much surprise, donations from other countries especially those who consider Pakistan as ‘friends’ or allies are ‘trickling in’ rather than having deluged us in this time of need, which they should have. International aid has not kept up compared to the Haiti Earthquake and the 2004 Tsunami.
About $7bn was pledged within a month of the tsunami that struck Asia in December 2004 and according to Oxfam, within the first 10 days after the Haitian earthquake, donors had committed $742m and pledged a further $920m. For Pakistan, the figures over the same period were $45m and $91m..
Pakistan has so far received aid-committment of 984.52 Million USD from International Community and commitment does not signify it being delivered or donated, it has been merely pledged.
The figures of a few of the donations for the Tsunami can be known as :
“ Nations all over the world provided over US$7 billion in aid for damaged regions, with the governments of Australia pledging US$819.9 million (including a US$760.6-million aid package for Indonesia), Germany offering US$660 million, Japan offering US$500 million, Canada offering US$343 million, Norway and the Netherlands offering both US$183 million, the United States offering US$35 million initially (increased to US$350 million), and the World Bank offering US$250 million. Also Italy offered US$ 95 million, increased later to US$ 113 million of which US$ 42 million was donated by the population using the SMS system.”
And for Haiti :
Haiti aid pledged by country
|Country/organization||Funding, committed and uncommitted, $||$ per person||% of total|
|Private (individuals & organizations)||593,639,219||24.51|
|World Bank (emergency grant)||82,107,356||3.39|
|Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF)||27,976,462||1.16|
|UN & agencies||10,000,000||0.41|
|United Arab Emirates||3,209,113||0.698||0.13|
|Donors not specified||2,219,169||0.09|
|Inter-American Development Bank||200,000||0.01|
For Pakistan’s floods, such are the contributions.
[The above picture illustrates the donations for Pakistan’s floods]
Richard Holbrooke, the US special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, had said: “The people of Pakistan will see that when the crisis hits, it’s not the Chinese. It’s not the Iranians. It’s not other countries. It’s not the EU It’s the US that always leads.”
But in contrast to his statement the The Guardian writes of how Saudi Arabia has overtaken the US as the largest donor to Pakistan’s flood relief effort.
Despite being engaged in relief activities for its own flood-wrecked areas, as always China has so far provided 120 million yuan (17.5 million USD) worth of humanitarian supplies to Pakistan in three batches. It initially announced that it would provide emergency aid worth 10 million yuan (approx. US$ 1.48 million) to help the flood-victims. The People’s Liberation Army donated another 10 million yuan to Pakistan. The Chinese Red Cross has also given US $50,000 in cash to Pakistan. And this is only to write a few of what it has done for the flood-hit.
Iran on the other hand :
Iran had committed over 400 tonnes of relief goods; out of which 330 tonnes had already been delivered by the Iranian transport aircrafts as of 24th August 2010. These goods included tents, floorings, clothes, canned food, bread and medical supplies. Iranian red crescent society has also been on the ground along with Pakistan Red Crescent Society as a part of its ongoing relief operation inside Pakistan to more than 100,000 flood vicitms. Iran has also offered to setup field hospitals and community centers for flood victims in Pakistan. In response to UN’s appeal for help at New York, Iran committed US $10 million towards the flood relief. In addition to this fund, Imam Khomeini Relief Committee was directed to collect private donations from Iranians and donate it to Pakistani government. Iranian interior minister also visited Pakistan as the head of a humanitarian mission assessing the needs of Pakistani people in order to facilitate the distribution of Iranian aid to Pakistan. Iranian interior minister during a meeting with Pakistani interior minister informed the latter that Iran is the third largest donor nation in terms of delivered aid.
“The UN appealed for $460m to cover the first 90 days of the emergency. It said today that half the target had been reached, but warned that it was able to reach less than a quarter of the 6 million people in urgent need for food and clean drinking water. The cost of providing clean water alone is about $2m a day.”
At Philanthropy, it has been surveyed on what the attitude of people towards such events depends on such as :
“Randy Strash, strategy director for emergency response at World Vision, said that donors tend to focus more on how many people have died rather than how many people are in need of aid. The United Nations has estimated that 20 million flood victims may need help; an estimated 1,600 have died.
The death toll, said Mr. Strash, “represents for many their barometer of how bad a disaster is.”
While countless died in the Haiti Earthquake, one must remember that those suffering and struggling to sruvive in Pakistan exceed the numbers of those who died in the previous catastrophe and they need to be immediately helped.
The difference between the two disasters in Haiti and Pakistani have already been compared in all aspects but the glaring dissimilarities are mentioned as :
[The picture below illustrates the total donations to Haiti for its earthquake]
Number of sheltherless people:
In Haiti: 1.8 million
In Pakistan: 6 million
International pledges 2 weeks after flash appeal as percent of total appeal:
For Haiti : 82% of the required
For Pakistan : only 57%.
Donation per affected person received after 2 weeks of flash appeal :
Haiti : US $ 157.16
Pakistan : US $ 15.24
For Pakistan : (Aug. 22) World Bank US $ 0.9 billion Asia Development Bank US $ 2.0 billion (loans)
For Haiti : (March 31) Donors pledge US $ 9.9 billion of which US $ 5.3 billion is pledged over 2 years (requested US $3.9 billion).