A father and son wait to board a helicopter to Islamabad. © UNHCR/B.Baloch
As winter closes in, survivors of the October 8 Pakistan earthquake are in danger of freezing to death without help from the world.
The earthquake is believed to have killed 55,000 people; among natural disasters in the last hundred years, that makes this event one of worst ten.
And aid is simply not getting through.
And potential donor countries just are not rising to the need. Pledges have been made for long term reconstruction, but people's needs are not getting support. Jo Leadbeater, Oxfam's Head of Advocacy, insists "we needed 30 times more than they pledged."
Not surprisingly some countries are doing more than others. Oxfam has created an interesting chart showing how much governments have pledged, as a percentage what their fair share of the UN's estimate of need suggests, according to each country's wealth. (Available as a pdf here.) Several countries have promised more than their fair share: Sweden (298%); Luxembourg (211%); Netherlands (135%); Denmark (119%). Others are contributing respectably: Canada (90%); Norway (84%); United Kingdom (79%); and Australia (63%). And some very rich countries have responded pitifully: Japan (16%); Germany (14%); the United States (9%); and France (0%).
Individuals who can do their little bit have numerous good agencies to choose from. Some of my favorites:
- and Doctors without Borders,who make a point insisting that donations not be earmarked to specific disasters.