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Americans Slower to Aid Pakistani Flood Victims

American individuals and corporations have given generously to the people of Pakistan suffering from the worst flooding catastrophe in the nation’s history. But that generosity still falls short of the sums Americans have donated to aid victims of other major crises.

According to the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University, in the first five weeks of the flood crisis, individual and corporate giving to relief organizations helping in Pakistan was estimated at just over $25 million. In the first five weeks after the earthquake in Haiti, Americans put $900 million into relief funds. Donations to victims of Hurricane Katrina at week five approached $2 billion.

We’ll have Patrick Rooney, the head of Indiana’s Center on Philanthropy, on Monday’s NewsHour to explain why he thinks Americans are not opening their wallets as wide for this cause.

“Haiti stood out for its proximity to us,” Rooney told us. “It’s close, it was easy for journalists and others to get there and cover it, bring our attention to the calamity. … You could see the death and destruction immediately in Haiti — that affects how people donate.”

CARE, a worldwide humanitarian organization, is hoping that Americans will boost their giving. Through partner groups in the region, CARE provides clean drinking water, shelter and specialized medical care. CARE estimates there are 150,000 expectant mothers with no access to a hospital.

“There is widely held perception that the money will go to armed terror groups and that no donation is secure,” said CARE spokesman Brian Feagans. “We are quick to point out that if you donate to CARE your donation is independent of government as we are. We are a nonpartisan organization; our allegiance is to the disaster victims.”

Joining Rooney on Monday’s program will be Steve Hollingworth, the chief operating officer of CARE’s international work.

More information on the U.S. State Department’s Pakistan Relief Fund can be found here.

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