Contrasting coverage of Pakistani floods with Haiti earthquake


by Sunny
18th August, 2010 at 1:05 pm    

There’s an excellent post by the Five Rupees blog:

Earlier this week, I learned of a remarkable statistic from the BBC. According to their calculations, there has been $6.82 pledged as donation per survivor of the flooding in Pakistan. Most of this is “unconfirmed” pledges which usually go unfulfilled. Be that as it may, the world at large has given $6.82 per survivor. The corresponding figure for the Haitian earthquake earlier this year? $669.60.

Now, there are many reasons for this. Donor fatigue would be one. The hatred the world has for Pakistan and Pakistanis would be another — and if you don’t believe me, have a look at the comments on this article. Bad economic times another possibility (though it bears mentioning that the global economy wasn’t exactly booming eight months ago). And the lack of comparable media attention would be a fourth. It is this last one that I want to focus on for a bit.

He goes on to show, via research, how much coverage the Pakistani floods have gotten, at the New York Times, compared to the Haiti earthquake. And even then, the article focused mostly on Islamists there.

In contrast, it looks like CNN is doing a marginally better job.


              Post to del.icio.us


Filed in: Pakistan,South Asia






43 Comments below   |  

Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. sunny hundal

    Blog post:: Contrasting coverage of Pakistani floods with Haiti earthquake http://bit.ly/ayJsp7


  2. John West

    RT @sunny_hundal: Blog post:: Contrasting coverage of Pakistani floods with Haiti earthquake http://bit.ly/ayJsp7


  3. UnitasCommunications

    RT @sunny_hundal: Blog post:: Contrasting coverage of Pakistani floods with Haiti earthquake http://bit.ly/ayJsp7


  4. Fareena Alam

    RT @sunny_hundal: Blog post:: Contrasting coverage of Pakistani floods with Haiti earthquake http://bit.ly/ayJsp7


  5. Javeriah

    RT @sunny_hundal Blog post:: Contrasting coverage of Pakistani floods with Haiti earthquake http://bit.ly/ayJsp7


  6. freebiejeebies.net

    Pickled Politics » Contrasting coverage of Pakistani floods with <b>…</b> http://goo.gl/fb/lD6Ux


  7. (6/6) Snow Leopard of Pakistan – Beyond the Myth :Apple On The Longtail

    [...] Pickled Politics » Contrasting coverage of Pakistani floods with … [...]


  8. (2/6) Snow Leopard of Pakistan – Beyond the Myth :Apple On The Longtail

    [...] Pickled Politics » Contrasting coverage of Pakistani floods with … [...]




  1. saeed — on 18th August, 2010 at 1:07 pm  

    Just look at the comment on this article about the flooding in pakistan from the daily telegraph,..the level of anti-muslim and anti pakistani bigotry is disgusting
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/pakistan/7941820/Pakistan-floods-an-emergency-for-the-West.html

  2. MaidMarian — on 18th August, 2010 at 1:13 pm  

    One has to wonder how much of that $6.82 has come from the west, that Pakistan so loves, and how much has come from the Islamic world.

    Saudi doesn’t seem all that short of a bob or two.

  3. Roger Thornhill — on 18th August, 2010 at 1:16 pm  

    Most people will be able to spare a fixed donation per disaster, so if you have 100x the survivors, then, duh, the donations will be less per survivor. So, how does Haiti compare as a ratio to Pakistan?

    I think in the UK we see more coverage than Haiti because there is more of an emotional, historical link. Likewise Haiti for the US.

    As a result I am unconvinced at the conclusions and motivations of the article.

    One thing that stood out and I tweeted at the time – the Pakistani population in the disaster zones are consistently acting with great restraint, civility, order and bravery, bordering on nobility.

    As for Islamist organisations, I wonder if people are getting the point that the State is sometimes not the best and only actor and spontaneous action by independent groups can deliver without central State control.

  4. Craig — on 18th August, 2010 at 1:25 pm  

    I gave £20 to to the Haiti appeal and £20 to the pakistan appeal.
    Since there are estimated to 10 times more people effected in pakistan than Haiti does that make me a Paki hater for not giving £200?
    It’s just that I can’t afford £200. Next time there is a smaller disaster like Haiti I wiil just donate £2 to avoid falling into this trap.

  5. les — on 18th August, 2010 at 1:47 pm  

    I think part of the problem is that the Pakistan floods disaster was a slow burner compared to Haiti which was instant and more dramatic – the pictures getting through showing the floods could quite easily have been the same film over and over – it was several days before realisation set in.

  6. sofia — on 18th August, 2010 at 1:50 pm  

    Craig- that was in poor taste
    Sunny I did put in another thread that headlines that the guardian had a couple of weeks back (on radicals and the aid effort) did not help matters..the people of pakistan are being collectively punished by perceptions of their country..it’s a disgrace.

  7. MaidMarian — on 18th August, 2010 at 1:55 pm  

    sofia – but the thing is it is not. Throwing the words, ‘collective punishment’ in is not some great catch-all that demonstrates any argument.

    Putting this down to latent racism is at best flaunting a chip on your shoulder and at worst using the suffering of victims to spin a political narrative that says ‘the West’ is guilty of everything under the sun.

  8. boyo — on 18th August, 2010 at 2:09 pm  

    According to current figures around 2000 people were killed by the Pakistan floods and around 4 million left short of food.

    Haitian Government reported that an estimated 230,000 people had died, 300,000 had been injured and 1,000,000 made homeless.

    According to the Telegraph report cited above, the US and UK had done well – it was other Western and Islamic countries that had failed to respond.

    While the comments in the report certainly were hostile, in practical terms it seems unfair to blame this on anti-islamic feeling: islamic nations (among them some of the richest in the world) had failed every bit as much as some Western nations.

    The two largest contributors meanwhile were Western nations. Presumably they did so not to help, but to further their own imperialist objectives. ;-)

  9. boyo — on 18th August, 2010 at 2:13 pm  

    I would add, it may well be that “the world” has a hatred for Pakistin and Pakistanis (why?), but if donations to the disaster are the evidence, then plainly the Islamic world loathes them every bit as the rest. Or is this simply another example of western-centric thinking?

  10. Soso — on 18th August, 2010 at 3:55 pm  

    Just look at the comment on this article about the flooding in pakistan from the daily telegraph,..the level of anti-muslim and anti pakistani bigotry is disgusting. Yeah, right. Let me make this a teraching moment for you, Saeed.

    I have been checking all sorts of comments threads posted below articles about the Pakistani floods. Not just at The Telegraph, but at dozens of francophone news sites, American news sites and Canadian news sites,as well. Most of the comments are negative, with few willing to give to Pakistan.

    That negativity is not the product of bigotry at all, but rather of some very astute observations.

    At a french site, commenters wondered, for example, why they should give any aid at all to Pakistan, seeings 11 French aid workers were brutally murdered by islamists in Karachi recently. And those unfortunate workers far from the only ones killed. If Western NGOs and aid workers…doctors, engineers and such…are being brutally slaughtered for no other reason than that they’re “Kuffurs”, then what is the point of risking further lives?

    Nor is the reluctance on the part of relief agencies to donate money a symptom of bigotry. After the 2005 earthquakes international aid organisations donated more than 500,000,000 in relief funds to Pakisan. Some five years later 70 cents on every dollar donated remains unaccounted for. So this time ’round, natrually, these same aid agencies are reluctant to contribute because they feel the money will simply be siphoned off by corrupt officals and will never, thus, reach those needing it.

    The problem of corruption is so vexating, widespread and systemic that even Saudi Arabia and the wealthy Gulf States, apart from Kuwait, haven’t donated. Are they anti-muslim bigots too?

    Pakistan’s infrastructures are rudimentary at best. Yet the country spends billions ( almost its entire budget, actually) on nuclear warheads and on the purchase of expensive military toys like fighter jets.

    Pakistan, thus, has squandered almost every opportunity to invest in infrasructures because of the skewed priorities of its corrupt elite.

    So if you donate money, 70% of it is stolen. If you send aid workers, there’s a chance they’ll he murdered. And if you give food, the distribution and transportaion networks are so primitve it’ll either rot, or those needing it will die before it can be delivered.

    So we have country so grossly mismanaged over the decades it has dozens, if not hundreds, of expensive nuclear warheads and other military hardware, but with reserves of potable water or emergency food aid, and that irresponsable country is now asking the world to step in and save it.

    No.Can. Do.

  11. Soso — on 18th August, 2010 at 3:58 pm  

    Last sentence should read ” but with NO reserves of potable water or emergency food…

  12. Cauldron — on 18th August, 2010 at 5:18 pm  

    Donations per survivor seems like a rather fatuous metric. On that basis, Chinese people would always be able to complain of bigotry.

    I appreciate its still an imperfect measure, but wouldn’t donations per fatality be a more accurate measure of the intensity of the worldwide response to any particular disaster?

    I agree that the rest of the world hates Pakistan, its politics, its society and its diaspora but that is a different story.

  13. saeed — on 18th August, 2010 at 6:18 pm  

    @ 10 and 12 i rest my case

  14. joe90 — on 18th August, 2010 at 6:37 pm  

    anti muslim comments are nothing new, muslims are the new irish or the new black as they say. You cannot blame the pak government for a natural disaster, however you can blame it for failing to respond. Sadly the government structure is so corrupt even the pakistan people don’t trust its own government.

    The state of Pakistan has great potential in terms of resources and manpower, it should not be a poor country at all, and the only way this potential will be seen in my view is when there is a complete revolution.

  15. MaidMarian — on 18th August, 2010 at 6:56 pm  

    Cauldron – ‘I agree that the rest of the world hates Pakistan, its politics, its society and its diaspora but that is a different story.’

    Yes, but Pakistan is an Islamic country, don’t you realise that they therefore are right and the rest of the world are 100% wrong.

  16. me — on 18th August, 2010 at 7:22 pm  

    Maid Marian
    “Yes, but Pakistan is an Islamic country, don’t you realise that they therefore are right and the rest of the world are 100% wrong.”

    No no thats Israel- and anyone who disagrees with anything they do, no matter how evil , is “anti-semitic” dontchya know.

  17. saeed — on 18th August, 2010 at 7:22 pm  

    Sadly the government structure is so corrupt even the pakistan people don’t trust its own government.

    true but so is Haitis

  18. me — on 18th August, 2010 at 7:27 pm  

    This is beyond parody from Harrys Place which has become an arm of the Israeli propoganda machine:

    “Canada and Israel have much in common. We’re both big believers in democracy and in fairness…”

    http://hurryupharry.org/2010/08/18/the-happiest-people-in-the-world/

  19. mk1 — on 18th August, 2010 at 9:47 pm  

    Need more help to get through to poor folk like this:

    http://tribune.com.pk/story/40435/the-politics-of-relief-aliens-in-their-own-land/

  20. zak — on 18th August, 2010 at 10:55 pm  

    Saudi Arabia is for the record now the biggest contributor to flood relief after the US

  21. damon — on 19th August, 2010 at 1:53 am  

    Saudi Arabia is for the record now the biggest contributor to flood relief after the US

    How much is that then? The latest figure I have seen is $20 million – which isn’t much more than you’d pay for a half decent yacht.

    I see the owner of Manchester City FC’s family have a fortune of £560bn.

    I guess people just don’t like sending their cash if they think it won’t do much good.

    In June Pakistan had announced that they were going to up military spending by 17% to $5.17 billion.

    “I think security is our topmost issue,” Finance Minister Abdul Hafeez Shaikh told parliament in his budget speech.

    “We are facing a situation in which our armed forces, paramilitary forces and security forces are laying down their lives … They should know from this house that we all stand by them.”

    http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE6541UF20100605

    So it’s the Taliban’s fault for diverting so much money into the military? Although I read that this was only 3.26% of GDP. What does all the rest go on?

  22. Naadir Jeewa — on 19th August, 2010 at 2:14 am  

    “Although I read that this was only 3.26% of GDP. What does all the rest go on?”

    Tax revenues are pretty poor in Pakistan, so you’re never going to get high amounts of spending. Libertarians should be happy.

    That said, as Stephen Cohen of Brookings argues, Pakistan overspends as a percentage of its GDP on the military exactly what it underspends on healthcare and education.

  23. me — on 19th August, 2010 at 2:41 am  

    damon
    “How much is that then? The latest figure I have seen is $20 million – which isn’t much more than you’d pay for a half decent yacht.

    I see the owner of Manchester City FC’s family have a fortune of £560bn.”

    Quite. So how much have you donated?

  24. damon — on 19th August, 2010 at 2:52 am  

    Nothing. Why do you ask?

  25. Niels Christensen — on 19th August, 2010 at 1:15 pm  

    Well you can check on the UN relief web, The saudi’s has promised a lot,
    and thats great, but there’s a couple of other muslim countries, which could spare a ferrari or two.
    Well as danish you easily get the expressions, that pakistanis hate us, it’s only e few months ago, that Pakistani journalists forced a danish pakistani journalist out of the country, just because he part time worked for JP ( the paper behind the cartoons).

    The german readers among the public can have’ fun’ with this opinion from TAZ ( a little to the left) from a deutsch turkish journalist.

    http://www.taz.de/1/archiv/digitaz/artikel/?ressort=tz&dig=2010%2F08%2F18%2Fa0105&cHash=713b720680

  26. John — on 19th August, 2010 at 1:22 pm  

    The government and local clerics refused to shelter around 500 flood-affected families belonging to the Ahmadiya community in South Punjab’s relief camps. Not only that, the government also did not send relief goods to the flood-hit areas belonging to the Ahmadiya community, The Express Tribune has learnt during a visit to the devastated Punjab districts of Muzaffargarh, Dera Ghazi Khan and Rajanpur.

    http://tribune.com.pk/story/40435/the-politics-of-relief-aliens-in-their-own-land/

  27. John — on 19th August, 2010 at 1:25 pm  

    Minorities denied flood relief in Pakistan

    Earlier this week, members of Pakistan’s Ahmadiyya community, who were caught up in the raging floods around the Central Punjab town of Muzaffargarh, were not rescued from their homes because rescuers felt that Muslims must be given priority. Ahmadiyyas are ostracized by Pakistan’s mainstream community who consider them to be non-believers.

    1973, this community was officially declared a minority. Since then the discrimination against them has been severe. The Ahmadiyyas complained to the government that not only were their community members not rescued but in some instances ejected from relief camps when their identity was disclosed. This has been refuted by the provincial Punjab government but eye witnesses have attested to this.

    http://www.hindustantimes.com/Minorities-denied-flood-relief-in-Pakistan/Article1-588673.aspx

  28. joe90 — on 19th August, 2010 at 1:33 pm  

    what does it matter who or what country gives money.

    when the earthquake struck haiti, people from all countries donated money and aid did’nt matter their religion, colour or background.

    This picking out saudi only gave 20 million or dubai only gave 5 million is nonsense. If you don’t care if people are dying and are homeless fine, but don’t start attacking others for not giving enough.

    I am no fan of pak government they have neglected the people and neglected the state, but in time of need you have to help the ones suffering.

  29. mk1 — on 19th August, 2010 at 1:39 pm  

    The Pakistanis have now rejected $5million from India stating they ‘can’t take aid now’ wtf!!

    http://www.timesnow.tv/Pakistan-rejects-Indias-aid-offer/articleshow/4351975.cms

  30. Soso — on 19th August, 2010 at 4:07 pm  

    10 and 12 i rest my case

    So tell me Saeed, Why aren’t Saudi Arabia and ther gulf states donating money and aid? Your contention is that “islamophobia” lay behind the reluctance to donate, buit apart from sole example of Kuwait. NO MUSLIM COUNTRIES HAVE GIVEN ANYTHING.

    You theory, thus is garbage.

    International aid agencies aren’t coming to the rescue with any enthusiasm this time ’round becuase of the probles of corruption. As I said 70 cents on every dollar donated following the 2005 earthquakes remains unaccounted for. When the heads of those aid agencies, most of whom are non-Muslims, approached Pakistani authporities in 2008 demanding to know where the money went, they treated with the utmost arrogance and contempt.

    In fact, Pakistan has for years een siphoning off aid moeny meant for the poor and the destitute and instead used to to help finance their nuclear program.

    Also, the fact Pakistan is refusing 5,000,000 in aid from India is telling.

    Pakistan’s filthy, corrupt and bigoted gov’t would rather see the country’s people die, than accept millions in aid from those oh-so impure Hindus.

    So ya got it all backwards, Saeed. It isn’t that the world hates Pakistan, it’s that Pakistan hates the world.

  31. damon — on 19th August, 2010 at 8:56 pm  

    From those Spiked people who some people really don’t like at all (maybe with good reason).

    Pakistan’s floods and ‘disaster narcissism’
    How the deluge in Asia was turned into an opportunity for Western preening and political oneupmanship.
    http://www.spiked-online.com/index.php/site/article/9439/

    Well it’s certainly on topic anyways.

    As the scale of the disaster finally becomes clear, one would think that the suffering of those in Pakistan would be the sole object of concern. But this has not been the case – far from it in fact. As the extent of the devastation has gradually come to light over the past three weeks, so the focus of debate in the West has turned inwards. What ought to be all about the people of Pakistan has become, once more, all about us. Why aren’t we showing enough concern?

    And a bit more. I think it’s quite good. Btw, Channel 4 news can’t be accused of downplaying it.

    Such narcissism allows crass comparisons to be made between entirely separate disasters as if the ratio of aid to quantities of suffering is incredibly meaningful. In countless news reports we learn that the British public has given £15million to Pakistan compared with the £101million it gave to Haiti. We find out that a week after the Haiti earthquake, a coalition of Canadian charities raised $3.5million. So far they have raised just $200,000 for Pakistan’s flood victims.

  32. joe90 — on 19th August, 2010 at 10:32 pm  

    post #30

    “So ya got it all backwards, Saeed. It isn’t that the world hates Pakistan, it’s that Pakistan hates the world.”

    bit rich you talking about others hate when all your posts are full of bigotry and hate.

  33. Pounce — on 22nd August, 2010 at 1:47 pm  

    Pakistan has over 2000 frontline combat aircaft
    The UK has around 300

    Pakistan has over 2000 Main Battle Tanks
    The UK has around 300

    Pakistan is currently building state of the art 3 French subs and has 3 more Chinese ones on the books

    It has a growing nuclear program, while the Uk has been cutting hers for years.

    The bBC is currently reporting that Pakistanis are openly complaining that the West (but primarily the US)
    aren’t giving enough aid.

    If Pakistan spent less money on weapons and more on building roads, bridges, flood controls then they wouldn’t be in as big a mess as they are now.

    On that basis, I won’t be directly giving any monies to the Pakistani relief effort. Unfortunately I don’t have a say on my tax contributions.

  34. earwicga — on 23rd August, 2010 at 5:15 am  

    Pounce – what does any of that have to do with the people who have been affected by the floods? Did they decide to buy aircraft etc.? You think the ruling class of Pakistan are sitting in refugee camps or drinking infested water? Small mind, even smaller pockets.

  35. Doe — on 26th August, 2010 at 7:39 am  

    How much money have you given?

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Pickled Politics © Copyright 2005 - 2010. All rights reserved. Terms and conditions.
With the help of PHP and Wordpress.