support flood relief in pakistan

By now you've heard about the massive flooding in Pakistan. Then again, maybe you haven't. The floods first hit Pakistan two weeks ago, with 14 million people affected by the flooding, with about 1,600 people killed and 300,000 homes destroyed or seriously damaged.

This is the worst natural disaster in Pakistan's history. The scale of the emergency has been overwhelming, but the global relief response has apparently been slow: Floods in Pakistan affect millions; U.N.-led relief effort lacks financial support.

Here's an article looking at flood relief efforts by the Pakistani American community in the United States, and Why many Pakistani-Americans aren't sending flood donations home. For many, it comes down to a simple distrust of the Pakistani government:
"The money might reach a quarter of the people who really need it," says Mussarat Khan as he leaves a doctor's office. "The doctor and I were discussing the flood, there is just so much corruption."

Whether the corruption allegations are true or not, perceptions that money would be wasted is one reason relief organizations say contributions for flood victims are way down.

"There has been a tepid response, it is down significantly from other disasters of recent times," says Ken Berger, president of Charity Navigator, a Glen Rock, N.J., evaluator of charities. "There could be a host of different reasons – from donor fatigue to people not feeling comfortable because of their concerns about terrorism."

Mr. Berger says some of the problem could be related to the difficulty of media reaching the flooded areas. But, he says, giving could also be down because people are on summer vacation or simply because of the vast geographical distance between the US and Pakistan.

Although some people may not give because of their concerns about corruption, he says those same concerns existed for Haiti, where contributions after January's earthquake far outpaced the rate of giving in the aftermath of Pakistan's flooding.

Whatever the reason, charities are feeling the affect.
More here: Inequality of mercy. For whatever reason, it's clear that the message about the situation isn't getting through to the rest of world -- myself included. I admit I haven't been following the news closely, and I've been inattentive to how dire the situation is. That said, I just made a small donation to relief efforts.

For more information about Pakistan Flood Disaster Relief and how you can help, go to the State Department website here.

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