We have chronicled here on Aid Watch how media coverage of disasters influences disasters, and how late the US media has been to the story of the disastrous flood in Pakistan, with apparently anemic donor response as a result.
Puzzlement deepened this morning at 7:30 am when I picked up my NYT off my doorstep and saw the four column front-page headline: Much of Pakistan’s Progress is Lost in Its Floodwaters. The NYT devotes not only the huge front-page space to the flood, but also two prime pages inside of the first section. Could somebody please explain the mysterious alchemy by which a tragedy going on for a month already finally become a huge story?
The latest story on the catastrophic flooding in Pakistan is about how it hasn’t been a story.
Compared to the response to the Haitian earthquake, media coverage of the Pakistan floods has been paltry. While news coverage isn’t correlated with need, it does have a major effect on the amount of disaster relief aid given. An article in the Chronicle of Philanthropy yesterday reported that eleven US charities had so far raised only $5 million for Pakistan flood relief, compared to $560 million raised by 39 US groups in the two and a half weeks after the Haiti earthquake.
[Guest Plot Post: Robert Munro is the Chief Information Officer at Energy for Opportunity and a Graduate Fellow in computational linguistics at Stanford where he specializes in methods for processing large volumes of information in less-resourced languages.]
From last weekend’s New York Times:
As the Obama administration continues to add to the aid package for flood-stricken Pakistan — already the largest humanitarian response from any single country — officials acknowledge that they are seeking to use the efforts to burnish the United States’ dismal image there.…
American officials say they are trying to rekindle the same good will generated five years ago when the United States military played a major role in responding to an earthquake in Kashmir in 2005 that killed 75,000 people.
A recent Christian Science Monitor article reported that USAID is “losing hearts and minds” in Afghanistan’s northeastern Badakshan province because of failed and shoddy projects, corruption, secrecy and waste.
Given how much of the US aid budget is spent trying to make the world a safer and more secure place for Americans, you might think there would be plenty of studies testing the hypothesis that aid funds can reduce terrorism or shift hostile public opinion. In fact, there is startlingly little evidence that we know how to use aid for this purpose.
Citigroup, Inc (NYSE: C) will push the idea of creating Shariah-compliant microfinance banks for the needs of millions of Muslims, who have previously been excluded from micro-finance because of Islam’s prohibition on paying interest, said a senior official on Monday.
“There are large microfinance banks in Indonesia, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Morocco, Egypt [...]
KARACHI: SBP governor Salim Raza would launch a credit guarantee scheme for small and rural enterprises under the financial inclusion program at a ceremony on March 19.
He will also announce a refinance scheme for small and medium enterprises in NWFP, FATA and Gilgit-Baltistan to enhance flow of credit to SME and agriculture sectors with greater [...]