Winter is Coming: Pakistan Crisis Could Worsen, but Media Coverage, Funds Remain Low

A young man displaced by the floods in Pakistan drags a cart with his belongings. The humanitarian emergency in Pakistan receives little media coverage. Photo by: Tariq Masood Malik / Oxfam / CC BY-NC-ND

Is there competition for media attention between humanitarian emergencies around the world?

Apparently so, according to Joe Cropp of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. And with the starving children in Somalia gripping world attention, Pakistan, it seems, is on the losing edge.

The way Cropp sees it, one of the reasons flood relief efforts in Pakistan remain seriously underfunded is the little media coverage that the crisis there receives compared with the famine in Somalia.

To date, only 18 percent of the $357 million Pakistan Flood Response Plan appeal has been funded. Yet, 3 million people are still in need of food assistance and 850,000 people in worst-struck Sindh province still live in temporary shelters.

And with winter about to set in, humanitarian agencies are growing more alarmed that the situation will soon become unbearable if donor response will remain sluggish.

Donor reluctance is also being attributed to the bad press that Pakistan has been getting and its reputation as a haven for armed groups.

But Cropp insists, “The people of Sindh are not militias, they’re ordinary people, they’re farmers, they’re teachers, and they need help.”

Humanitarian agencies such as Oxfam, UNICEF, U.N. OCHA and church-based group ACT Alliance have been urging donors to step up their response to stop Pakistan’s flood victims from “falling further below the poverty line and deeper into debt and uncertainty.”

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About the author

  • Che de los Reyes

    As a senior staff writer, Che focuses on international development breaking news coverage as well as interviews and features. Prior to joining Devex, Che handled communications for local and international development NGOs and government institutions in the Philippines.