Pakistan deserves aid from UN

September 25, 2010 — by Kelly Liu and Apeksha Sharma

Compared to the enormous efforts put in by The United Nations to relieve the victims of hurricane Katrina and the tsunami in Chile, the international community was nowhere to be found when Pakistan was hit by a devastating flood this summer.

Even with one-fifth of Pakistan underwater and 20 million of its citizens suffering for the past three months, the devastated nation has yet to receive a substantial amount of international aid. In fact, of the $500 million needed to repair and rebuild the country, less than half of the amount has been donated, leaving Pakistan in serious trouble.

The United States, realizing the severity of the situation, has considerably increased its contribution from $76 million to $150 million, making America the largest global donor. A few Middle Eastern countries, such as Kuwait and Oman, have offered $5 million, but the vast majority have done little to help the flood-stricken nation.

Why has the international community been so unwilling to help with this disastrous event? In comparison to the donations to the Haiti and Chile earthquakes and the Guatemala volcano natural disasters this year, donations toward Pakistan are paltry. It could be because of the lack of media coverage, donor fatigue or the fact that floods are slow, in terms of destruction, unlike earthquakes and volcano disasters. However, above those reasons, the main reason is that many countries perceive Pakistan as a politically unstable place since the nation is infamous for being a haven for terrorists and extremists.

To make matters worse, Pakistan’s governmental history is one that is certainly considered “shady” by most developed countries. Nations still recall that the $470 million of their donations to the 2005 Pakistan earthquake, which killed more than 73,000 people, were not given to the Pakistan’s Earthquake Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Authority (ERRA). Also, the Pakistani government spends billions on nuclear weapons while the majority of its citizens live in slums engulfed by poverty.

It is obvious why countries are reluctant to offer large sums of money to Pakistan. Yet despite the fear of what Pakistan might do with the United Nation’s estimated need of $449 million, the plight of 20 million Pakistanis who are suffering should be enough of an incentive to raise that money.

Pakistan, and more importantly the people of Pakistan, deserve as much support and aid as the survivors of other natural disasters. Although the entire global community is suffering from an economic crisis, all nations should do what they can to ensure the safety and well-being of human lives, no matter the race, religion or, in this case, political skulduggery.

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