Aid agency concerned it will not be able to respond to urgent needs of survivorsPast experience shows floods raise ten times less than earthquakes, other disastersIslamabad, Pakistan, August 18, 2010 -
As the humanitarian need in Pakistan
continues to grow, World Vision says fundraising efforts are falling short and its relief efforts could be jeopardized. The initial target for World Vision is to help 300,000 of those living in the hardest-hit areas, a fraction of the estimated 20 million people who have been affected by the disaster.
“In the early days of this disaster, it was unclear just how massive the needs were because it was difficult to reach some of the hardest-hit places. Now, we know that millions of children and families need our help,” said Randy Strash
, World Vision’s fundraising expert for disaster response. “However, our experience has shown that floods raise a tenth or less than earthquakes or other natural disasters. We are seeing that idea yet again with the flooding in Pakistan.”
World Vision’s experience working in disaster response and fundraising has found that while violent disasters often motivate people to donate immediately, slow onset disasters, like the flooding in Pakistan, often have a low death count and may not be perceived to be as urgent.
"We've found that donors typically respond based largely on the following factors," said Strash. "The proximity of the disaster to the U.S.; the number dead and missing; the extent of media coverage and the visibility of World Vision responders on the ground; how compelling the images and stories from the field are; if any Westerners or celebrities were impacted by the disaster or involved in the response; and if the country is on friendly terms with ours or vital to our economy.”
“You can easily see that, from a fundraising perspective, the Haiti earthquake had a clear advantage over the flooding in Pakistan. In fact, we raised 50 times more for Haiti in the first two weeks after the disaster than we have for Pakistan, and yet there are ten times as many people now affected in Pakistan than in Haiti,” Strash added.
World Vision’s relief team in Pakistan estimates it will need at least $20 million in funds in order to respond to the most critical needs on the ground, including providing clean water, food, emergency supplies (like shelter, bedding, clothing, hygiene kits and cooking utensils), healthcare and sanitation. However, so far, World Vision’s United States office has raised just $305,000 in private donations. Globally, the organization has raised $2.8 million, less than 15% of its total goal. Comparatively, in the first two weeks after the Asian tsunami in 2004 and January’s earthquake in Haiti, World Vision’s United States office raised $16.7 million and $19.5 million respectively.
“We cannot spend money we don’t have,” said Anita Cole, World Vision’s program director in Pakistan. “If fundraising continues at this pace, there is a very real chance we will not be able to purchase enough relief items to help the children and families who so urgently need it.”
This as the monsoon rains continue in Pakistan, sending millions of people in southern Pakistan, including Upper and Lower Sindh, fleeing the rising floodwaters. It is estimated that one-fifth of the country is currently underwater. In the north, where some of the water has started to recede, the needs remain desperate. In Gilgit City, families have been without electricity for more than eight days, food is scarce, and medicines are in short supply even while the threat of disease increases.
World Vision has already delivered food and water to more than 21,000 people in Charsada and Nowshera. Over the next three months, the aid agency’s aim is to provide aid (including water purification packets, hygiene kits, tents, cooking items, and food) to 300,000 people in Kyber Pakhtoonkhwa Province (KPK), Punjab and Sindh. The organization has also opened five emergency health clinics in Lower Dir, treating more than 2,500 people suffering from waterborne diseases and other illnesses. In addition, World Vision hopes to provide cash-for-work activities to 1,000 people, open seven health posts, and set up 20 Child-Friendly Spaces and 20 Women-Friendly Spaces to provide a safe and comfortable environment for children and women to interact with peers and receive support.
As a member of the Pakistan Humanitarian Forum, World Vision continues to work closely with the United Nations and other relief organizations to ensure that effective, efficient and timely assistance is given to the children and families affected by this disaster.
To support World Vision’s relief efforts in Pakistan, please visit www.worldvision.org
or call 1-888-56-CHILD (1-888-562-4453).World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. We serve all people, regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, or gender. For more information, visit www.worldvision.org/press.